How-To Geek

App Developers Caught Selling Facebook User Info to a Data Broker

Over the weekend Facebook revealed that a data broker was caught purchasing identifying user information from some of the platform’s app developers. This incident combined with the previous revelation that many popular apps were transmitting user IDs to advertising and data firms just adds more fuel to the ongoing privacy debate regarding Facebook.

From the article (Facebook Developer Blog entry): As we examined the circumstances of inadvertent UID transfers, we discovered some instances where a data broker was paying developers for UIDs. While we determined that no private user data was sold and confirmed that transfer of these UIDs did not give access to any private data, this violation of our policy is something we take seriously. As such, we are taking action against these developers by instituting a 6-month full moratorium on their access to Facebook communication channels, and we will require these developers to submit their data practices to an audit in the future to confirm that they are in compliance with our policies. This impacts fewer than a dozen, mostly small developers, none of which are in the top 10 applications on Facebook Platform.

Are you surprised by the latest revelation? Were you already expecting something like this to come to light? Do you think that Facebook should have permanently banned the app developers caught selling information or is the six month suspension punishment enough? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments!

Facebook app developers sold user info [ZDNET News – Asia]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 11/1/10

Comments (7)

  1. Hatryst

    Ah, that’s why i don’t use facebook anymore… I use twitter, because that’s how i get lots of HTG news ;)

  2. Eek

    the internet is a fickle thing to be fair. anybody who wants something badly enough will find the means or methods to get to his/her ends.

    Just as people boast about “the reason I have a mac, is because I dont want viruses like Windows computers have.” I have had 1 single virus infection and I have had a PC since Commodore. It really depends on the initiative you take to take care of yourself and your equipment.

    while yes, it is worrying and not comforting at all, to know that anyone can “break in” to your profile and use the information for insidious purposes, you take that risk all the time. Just be careful. and hope for the best ;) and be careful what kind of digital footprint you leave behind.

    what really bothers me about Facebook is how employers use it to “screen” employees or potential employees. It simply isnt fair. its censorship to the scariest degree, and in this world economy, very disheartening.
    This comic from XKCD explains it all :) >

  3. Elizabeth

    Good Evening !

    Reading articles such as this is bringing me closer and closer to removing my profile
    on Facebook. Don’t use it much and only reason I do is because of my nieces and a
    few of my friends that live in other states.

    I will be sending them this article with a footnote,,,,,,, ‘by the way, I am 90% closer to removing
    my information on Facebook entirely ! ‘ Although they are the only ones that can see my profile
    etc., if I am part of the sale, everyone can now see, not to mention lots of pictures that we exchange.

    After typing the prior sentence, I am now 100% convinced and I am headed to Facebook to say bye
    bye !! The risk of anything happening to us is just not worth have a face book profile to communicate.

    Thank you so much HTG !! You just don’t know how much I have learned, met a few nice people
    and most of all, you support your articles/tutorials with free software !!

    Gratefully yours,

  4. ron

    we have chilled our spegatti to extremly cold temperatures and have wipped these developers to the chiily bone with the wet noodles. So you can be assured we have taken every precaution and take your privacy very seruiosly.

  5. Dick

    I have been hearing a lot of corrupt actions about Facebook lately. Why would they take a good thing and muck it all up? Its the typical attitude and way of life these online organizations are choosing to take these days in a weak economy. Trying to grab all the cash they can get! I’m so tired of hearing and reading about this way of doing business I think Facebook will just be another app. that I dump into my getting deeper graveyard of places to avoid.

  6. soloman498

    You can be sure that there is a lot more than Facebook admits to!

  7. nobbywebfoot

    I have always felt that joining Facebook looked too much like stripping naked in a glass tank filled with venomous snakes and standing in the centre of a full football stadium filled with sadists. It looks like I was thinking along the right lines, no way would you get me to join!

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