Today we’re taking a look at a developing situation surrounding the 3rd-party Facebook app called “Frost for Facebook.” This app was the subject of some controversy back in March of 2018 when it was banned from the Google Play app store for “violations of forwarding traffic to a particular site (m.facebook.com)” Generally when this sort of thing happens, an app doesn’t last long in the wild – but Frost seems to have persisted! Now it’s Facebook that’s taking a swipe at the app.
Here in August of 2019, several reports of bans have appeared over the past few days. Users have shown their accounts banned or “temporarily locked” due to what Facebook describes as “suspicious activity.” At the moment, the creator of the app, Allan Wang, and helpful users are testing different builds of the app to see if only one element in the app is the culprit. This could all be just a tiny misunderstanding.
The “temporarily locked” message some users have seen suggests that “it’s likely that your account was compromised as a result of entering your password on a website designed to look like Facebook.” These fortunate few users are generally able to follow several security check questions to log back in. Regardless, as you’ll see on Reddit, users are not pleased.
UPDATE: Some users are also reporting bans using the desktop versions of Firefox. Commentary on Github for Frost indicates that these bans may just appear to have been due to Firefox when, in reality, they’re delayed bans from having used Frost earlier the same day.
Further analysis suggests that users who switch between browsers see this ban due to quick switches between IP addresses. This may be read by Facebook as bouncing back and forth across the country – or the world – where a normal switch between a browser on a wi-fi network and a mobile data network would only be the difference between a local wifi network and a local mobile data tower.
In any case, this is all likely due to Facebook’s newest efforts to crack down on all malicious efforts to gain access to user data without their consent. Notice I didn’t say without YOUR consent – because if you’re using Facebook, you’ve already given the social network consent to harvest, utilize, and monetize your user data as they see fit – with very few caveats.
If you’d like to read more about Facebook’s latest plan for privacy, have a peek at the column written by my colleague Osmond Chia called “The Facebook privacy plan should terrify you”. If you’d like to read more about why Facebook is making a very obviously public effort to appear to fix their privacy problems, have a peek at their $5 billion USD fine from the FTC, and the consequences.
That fine was meant to show Facebook that the FTC was serious about punishing them for their bad behavior, but the reality of the situation became very clear immediately after the fine amount was leaked. The relatively small amount of cash of the penalty compared to Facebook’s massive cash reserves and yearly profit meant investors knew Facebook wouldn’t be phased. Once the penalty amount was revealed, Facebook’s stock price bolted upward.