Facebook hits back on latest data 'leak'

Facebook - press are exaggerating
Facebook - press are exaggerating

Facebook has quickly responded to stories that some third-party applications are sharing user data, accusing the press of exaggerating the implications of what was put public.

It has come to light that certain applications are sharing the User ID (UUID) of their subscribers – something which is against the Facebook developers' policy.

However, the UID is not an especially critical piece of information, and Facebook believes that some sections of the media is making a mountain out of a molehill.

Protecting user data

"Our policy is very clear about protecting user data, ensuring that no one can access private user information without explicit user consent, blogged Facebook's Mike Vernal.

"Recently, it has come to our attention that several applications built on Facebook Platform were passing the User ID (UID), an identifier that we use within our APIs, in a manner that violated this policy.

"In most cases, developers did not intend to pass this information, but did so because of the technical details of how browsers work.

"Press reports have exaggerated the implications of sharing a UID. Knowledge of a UID does not enable anyone to access private user information without explicit user consent. "Nevertheless, we are committed to ensuring that even the inadvertent passing of UIDs is prevented and all applications are in compliance with our policy."

Public scrutiny

Facebook is well aware that its privacy policy is now under massive scrutiny and that any breach or loophole will come to the media's attention.

The company's past transgressions mean that it may well never get the level of trust it desires, although the public's capacity for uploading every nook and cranny of their lives has never been bigger.

"Ensuring that Facebook users are in control of their information is essential for the success of your application and the rest of Facebook Platform," concludes Facebook's statement.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.