It is turning out to be a mixed week for Facebook, with the social media platform doing some good by banning several accounts that were linked to a group aiming to incite violence. Unfortunately though, the company has made another misstep when it comes to user data.
In a recently published blog post in its Privacy Matters series, Facebook’s VP for platform partnerships, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, explained a few changes regarding how data will accessible to developers moving forward, with inactive user data not being shared.
The company classifies inactive users as those who have not made use of its app for more than 90 days. It’s a decision it took back in 2018 following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but as it turns out some data has seemingly slipped through the cracks and found its way to developers.
Now Facebook is looking to even further tighten up its measures with regards to the access and sharing of user data, but this most recent incident happened over the past few months before it was noticed.
“But recently, we discovered that in some instances apps continued to receive the data that people had previously authorized, even if it appeared they hadn’t used the app in the last 90 days,” explains Papamiltiadis.
“From the last several months of data we have available, we currently estimate this issue enabled approximately 5,000 developers to continue receiving information — for example, language or gender — beyond 90 days of inactivity as recognized by our systems. We haven’t seen evidence that this issue resulted in sharing information that was inconsistent with the permissions people gave when they logged in using Facebook,” the VP adds.
It looks as if Facebook is acknowledging its error, but also taking the position of no harm, no foul. Given how hard the platform has had to work to win back user trust following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, this recent development does not instil confidence.
“We fixed the issue the day after we found it. We’ll keep investigating and will continue to prioritize transparency around any major updates,” concludes Papamiltiadis.
Here’s hoping this is the extent of the problem.