Company says it has 'zero tolerance' for data brokers

Facebook suspends developers for selling user ID numbers

Facebook has suspended a number of app developers after a “data broker” allegedly paid them to hand over user identification numbers.

Given that the user identification numbers (UIDs) were not considered to be private and that merely knowing a UID does not bestow anyone the ability to access private data, the hard line taken by the social networking behemoth is as much a statement of intent to tackle the firm’s tarnished reputation when it comes to privacy concerns.

Facebook representative Mike Vernal wrote on the Facebook Developer Blog: “Facebook has never sold and will never sell user information. We also have zero tolerance for data brokers because they undermine the value that users have come to expect from Facebook.”

“To restate our policy, developers may not pass any data from Facebook to data brokers, and we are now including anonymous identifiers in this protected category of Facebook data.”

Facebook said that it was imposing a six month ban on access to Facebook development features for the group found to have sold UIDs to data brokers. Less than 12 developers were involved which Facebook described as “mostly small developers”, saying that none of them had produced applications in the top 10 list.

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