Facebook blocks developers that sold user information

Facebook has suspended a gaggle of app developers after the social network found they had sold user information to data brokers.

Facebook blocks developers that sold user information

The discovery stemmed from Facebook’s own investigations into Wall Street Journal revelations that Facebook apps were inadvertently passing user information to advertising companies.

“As we examined the circumstances of inadvertent user ID transfers, we discovered some instances where a data broker was paying developers for user IDs,” said engineer Mike Vernal on the Facebook Developer blog.

“This violation of our policy is something we take seriously. As such, we are taking action against these developers by instituting a six-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,” he said.

“This impacts fewer than a dozen, mostly small developers, none of which are in the top 10 applications on Facebook Platform,” Vernal said, although he didn’t list the developers involved.

Facebook said Rapleaf, one of the data brokers at the centre of the user ID furore, would delete all IDs in its possession and stop working on the Facebook Platform.

In a bid to police new policies aimed at locking down user ID trafficking, Facebook said it would be inserting anonymous identifiers into its data to help track anyone passing it on to third parties.

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