An interesting piece of news picked up from MyPermissions, a company doing interesting work giving consumers clarity over the third party services their social solutions have given authentication to. It seems that Facebook has started to take privacy violations seriously and has banned a couple of vendors from the platform
Late last year HasOffers was outed for some breaches of Facebook’s privacy policies – essentially the company was taking data about a user’s device and then sharing that data with its own customers in order to help them target ads at gamers or application users. The problem being that the data in question could possibly be used to identify an individual. As the story had it:
…someone may identify themselves as a married father of three on a Facebook page, but that person may be a frequent user of same-sex dating apps. HasOffers shouldn’t distribute this data, but HasOffers sharing this more detailed information on a user level, dubbed “user level attribution,” with clients. These clients could put two and two together and figure out which of their users was the father
At the time, HasOffers CEO Peter Hamilton ‘fessed up saying that:
MobileAppTracking platform was in violation of Facebook’s policies. Specifically, our MobileAppTracking platform inappropriately allowed advertisers to obtain device-level attribution and performance data. This was a mistake on our part
Well it seems that wasn’t enough, the partners page on HasOffers no longer lists Facebook as a partner As well as that Facebook’s page to measure partners doesn’t list the company either.
I’ve reached out to Facebook for comment and will update this post if and when I hear back. Whether this is a case of Facebook doing the right thing and really cracking down on users’ safety, or simply a case of a vendor who has “gone too far”, remains to be seen. Hopefully it’s the former, although with the company needing to grow their revenue base, one can be sure that they’ll push things as far as they can go to attract as many advertizing dollars as possible.