Oops! Facebook says allowing Sony and Microsoft access was “our mistake.”
Facebook is, at long last, cutting off access to 'friend data' for Microsoft and Sony, under the terms of its record $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, announced today.
Facebook's VP of product partnerships said today a third party recently alerted Facebook to a bug “which led us to investigate and find that, unfortunately, our codebase had enabled continued data access for some of these partners.”
“This was old code supporting known experiences for people, such as being able to use Facebook on an earlier generation PlayStation (PS3 or Vita) or to sync their friends’ contact information with another service,” he said in a Facebook blog post. “Based on our previous commitments, we are ending these partners’ access to friend data immediately. This was our mistake, and we are correcting it.”
It described having allowed them access up to now as “our mistake” after limiting similar access for about 10 other companies at the end of last year.
It also noted that it has “not found evidence that any data was used in violation of our policies” as a result of the continuing access.
Little by little, Facebook has been trickling out changes to how it handles its users’ personal data in the wake of a number of privacy breaches — not just the biggie involving Cambridge Analytica, a breach investigation that is not winding down soon — and a subsequent investigation by regulators.
The announcement specifically impacting Microsoft and Sony comes as the company is also announcing a larger overhaul of its API. This will impact “dozens” of partners, the company said, which had been using it to build Facebook experiences on their own apps or devices “that should have been wound down.” (These integrations typically would have led to intentional — but often unintentional — sharing of contacts and synching of contacts between address books, apps and so on.)
The tech giants had been the last two remaining of a group of 12 select partners (others included Yahoo, which is owned by Verizon, which also owns us, as well as Spotify, Netflix and Blackberry) that had a particularly wide deal with the social network, in which they were allowed to access and use data relating to a users’ friend lists, in addition to data about the users themselves, when those users were logged into their services using their Facebook sign-ins. Most of these deals were wound down after an expose in the New York Times uncovered them and how they were being used.
[techcrunch.com via @techmeme]