Today Facebook made several announcements as their agreement for unprecedented penalty with the FTC was made public. Here we’re taking a look at how they’ll be cutting off access to Facebook ‘friends data’ from groups like Microsoft and Sony. Facebook’s Ime Archibong, VP of Product Partnerships, used language like “a fundamental shift in the way we work” and “action that impacts dozens of partners who had access to data… that should have been wound down.” So they left the doggy door open for partner companies to access your data – whoops!
It should come as absolutely no shock whatsoever that Facebook just announced that they’ve made a mistake. Another mistake. One of an utterly shocking number of what they’re now classifying as “mistakes.” Just this week it was revealed that their Messenger Kids app allowed kids to chat with strangers. I’m not even exaggerating.
In a news post from Facebook today, from Archibong, as mentioned above, Facebook outlined how their data zipper was left opened on accident.
Facebook’s announcement suggests that they’ve been “reviewing the ways in which we enabled people to share data with outside companies” and that during this process, they became aware of a bug. A third party alerted Facebook to this bug, “which led us to investigate and find that, unfortunately, our codebase had enabled continued data access for some of these partners.”
Examples of partners given by Facebook that they’ve previously “created partnerships and integrations” with included Blackberry and Yahoo. They went on to note that a “dozen partners” continued to access data after the winding down and discontinuation of integrations previously announced and made active, publicly.
So it’s not as if these integrations were super secret. They were features like the example given by Facebook: “This was old code supporting known experiences for people, such as being able to use Facebook on PlayStation or to sync their friends’ contact information with another service.”
That particular example was one from Sony, one of two companies who “continued to access limited types of friends data” past the time when Facebook said they’d wound down or ended said integrations.
Based on our previous commitments, we are ending these partners’ access to friend data immediately,” wrote Archibong. “This was our mistake, and we are correcting it.”
Archibong went on to mention that due to the “manual process that involves the examination of millions of lines of code,” this “mistake” reveal would probably NOT be Facebook’s last. “We will inevitably find more examples of where our products can be improved – where data access can be restricted – and we’ll work swiftly to address issues when they surface.” So mark that one down on your calendar, and take another shot!