Facebook Suspends Data-Sharing Developers For 6 Months

Cracking down on Facebook app developers who were caught sharing user IDs to advertisers, the social networking site revealed a zero tolerance policy for data brokers, going so far as to ban offenders for half a year.

From Facebook’s Developer Blog update:

“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. We have also reached an agreement with Rapleaf, the data broker who came forward to work with us on this situation. Rapleaf has agreed to delete all UIDs in its possession, and they have agreed not to conduct any activities on the Facebook Platform (either directly or indirectly) going forward.”

Given Facebook’s track record on privacy, the news shouldn’t exactly put you at ease. But at least the site is trying, or at least making it look that way.

An Update on Facebook UIDs [Facebook via Slashdot]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    “If there’s gonna be data-mining on this web service, we’re gonna be the ones doing it, gosh-darn it!”

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    “who were caught sharing user IDs to advertisers”
    “we determined that no private user data was sold “

    So these app developers shared out of the goodness of their heart or did they just get caught before they received a check?

    Mr_Fixit has it right, Facebook hates scammers muscling in on their own racket.

    • DanRydell says:

      UIDs are not private data. They’re most likely referring to things that you have marked as private on Facebook.

      And yes, some developers WERE sharing the UIDs unintentionally. I suspect that is related to the recent issue with web browsers sharing your UID as part of the HTTP referrer URL when you click on an ad. That is something that is very common and affects many other websites, including consumerist.com (though consumerist doesn’t have ads except for Consumer Reports, in some context your user ID will be shared when you click on an external link).

  3. DanRydell says:

    OK, so this differs somewhat from the original story about some substantial portion of the top 10 developers sharing data. Some of the sharing happened inadvertently, but some developers were actually selling the UIDs. The ones that were selling UIDs were suspended, not the ones who shared them inadvertently. That’s why this doesn’t affect any of the top 10 developers.

    Farmville lives on, for better or for worse. :(

    • diasdiem says:

      It doesn’t affect them because people would riot if they couldn’t harvest their crops. Seriously, imagine if Farmville got suspended. Now imagine if MySpace offered some plugin to play Farmville on their network. Guess who’s more popular now?

    • alstein says:

      I really doubt Zynga is innocent in all of this, but Facebook wasn’t going to punish them.

      See things like top college baskbetball programs and the NCAA.

  4. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    If I were to push the Facebook ‘Like’ button on this article, would that be ironic, or just stupid?

  5. dragonfire81 says:

    What’s to stop these people from getting a new IP and re-registering?

  6. buckeyegoose says:

    Yea, they will just start up Slimy Biz 2, LLC after Slimy Biz, LLC gets blocked

  7. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    So does that mean Farmville is offline for 6 months? Because I REALLY want to see my friends wall explode when people can’t play it any more ^_^

  8. goober says:

    Uhhh…so did they ban Zynga? They were one of the biggest offenders, weren’t they? I don’t think Facebook is about to ban FarmVille and FrontierVille.

  9. SexCpotatoes says:

    Liars. So they banned Farmville for that amount of time?

  10. outlulz says:

    Only 6 months? Why not forever?

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      “Take your purchases, get out of my store, and please come again!”

  11. obits3 says:

    You come back, six months!

  12. Murph1908 says:

    Wow. It’s a WHOLE six months?

    That’ll show ’em!

  13. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Is it just me or have we not gotten a new post since 9:45, when this one was posted?

  14. Pax says:

    “This impacts fewer than a dozen, mostly small developers, none of which are in the top 10 applications on Facebook Platform.”

    So, the BIG ones got a pass on this, did they? Gee, what a suprise! [/sarcasm]

    See, I distinctly remember Zynga (Farmville, MafiaWars, and others) being listed as among the offenders, in the prior article.

  15. Hawkins says:

    We need to remember that with services like these we are NOT the customer. We are the product, delivered to the customer (the advertisers and allied marketers) in bulk.

    As Zappa used to say:

    You will do as you are told
    Until the rights to you are sold.

  16. Buckus says:

    There. That’ll fix it.

  17. rustyjar says:

    Anyone remember this video?

    I’m sure someone as upstanding as Mark Pincus would NEVER have resorted to selling off millions of user’s information for a profit. I mean, a company that buys between $5-8million worth of banner ads each month on Facebook must be above the fray, right?