Facebook says 100 developers may have accessed user data from groups

6 Nov 2019

Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Facebook’s latest privacy mishap may have left developers with access to information such as names and profile pictures in groups on the social network.

Facebook has said around 100 app developers may have been able to obtain user data from groups on the social network, after uncovering that access had not been fully closed off as intended.

Despite making changes to what third parties can see following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the firm has admitted that there was some retained access to information such as names and profile pictures in connection with group activity.

It believes at least 11 partners accessed group members’ information in the last 60 days but claims to have found nothing to suggest the data was misused in its own investigation.

“Although we’ve seen no evidence of abuse, we will ask them to delete any member data they may have retained and we will conduct audits to confirm that it has been deleted,” said Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships.

Facebook has not disclosed the names of the developers, nor the number of users that may have been affected. Such access by third-party partners has now been revoked, it added.

Privacy concerns

The revelation is the latest in a string of privacy concerns to hit the social network in recent years and comes a week after it agreed to pay a £500,000 fine over personal data use in political campaigns.

In 2017, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK opened a wide-ranging investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes and issued the penalty to the tech giant in October 2018.

The investigation found that, between 2007 and 2014, Facebook processed user data by letting third-party app developers access personal information without the user’s informed consent.

Despite a number of ongoing controversies surrounding the social network, including the continued fallout from Cambridge Analytica and questions about its proposed Libra cryptocurrency, Facebook’s business is still booming. Last week, the company revealed steady revenue and user growth in its latest financial results.

In what has been seen as a move to distance itself from a brand tarnished by scandals, Facebook revealed a new corporate logo and rebrand earlier this week.

– PA Media, with additional reporting by Sarah Harford