On Wednesday, July 1st, 2020, Facebook opened up through a post by Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, VP of Platform Partnerships that, a bug in their system has made them to be sharing Facebook user’s information to third-party developers.
But do not despair, the bug has been fixed.
The Nature of the Bug
In order to make Facebook an interesting social media destination, Facebook allowed third-party developers to integrate their services into the Facebook platform. That is why you can play games not developed by Facebook in the Facebook platform. You can also connect your Facebook to a fitness app and invite your friends to join in a remote workout guide from the app.
These are many other ways are what makes Facebook a productive social media platform.
For the third-party application you want to use through Facebook to work, you need to share some sort of your public information with them. Information like, your name, your location, your Facebook email and whatever is required.
You are however, told what information an app you want to connect to your Facebook account needs before the connection will be established.
Now, the connection has been established, you have had your fun, and you no longer want to the third-party app to be connected to your Facebook account, what will you do? Facebook has a settings option where users can disconnect third-party app they have connected before.
But the fact that Facebook discovered is that most people do not use that third-party app disconnection settings. So, in 2018, Facebook developed a policy that, if a user stops using the services of an app connected to their account for 90 days, they will automatically stop sharing the person public data with the app developer.
The issue that Facebook discovered in their system, made the automatic stopping of information sharing with third-party app after 90 days of inactivity not to function properly. Thus, Facebook estimated that approximately 5,000 developers still continues to receive the public information they requested from a user, even after the user have stopped using the app for more than 90 days.
No Other Information was Compromised
Apart from the information that a user grant to the third-party app when he was connecting the app with their Facebook account, Facebook says that there is no evidence that the developers was able to access more information that they were not initially granted access to.
As a reminder, the bug causing this issue have been fixed.
Facebook said that they fixed it the day after the discovered the issue.
Should Facebook be Criticized for this?
I do not think they should.
They were the ones that brought up the idea of helping their users to disconnect third-party apps that they forgot to disconnect when they stopped needing the app. They were the ones that discovered the bug. And they said they have fixed it.
What more should they do? To my own opinion, I think they have done the right thing for keeping us informed.
You might now be wondering. Why then am I sharing this news.
There are basically 3 reasons.
Always remember to disconnect the third-party apps you previously connected to your Facebook account, or any other online account that support connecting to third-party service.
I will be putting up an article that explains how to see the lists of connected third-party apps and how to disconnect them. So stay tuned.
Be security conscious and always strive to stay informed. Facebook have set up a series called Privacy Matters. This series helps you take a closer look at changes Face made to improve their privacy approach and protect their user’s information.
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