Facebook bug exposed non-shared photos of users to third party apps for a period of two weeks

Around 1,500 third-party apps had open access to photos that users had uploaded to their accounts but had not shared them.

Facebook has hit another row on Friday when Facebook developer Tomer Bar informed users on the blog and apologised to its users for a bug that has affected around 6.8 million users worldwide.

The bug affected those users who had given permission to third-parties to access photos on their timeline through the company’s API or application programming interface. The bug, however, granted permission to third-parties to not only have access to shared photos but also the ones not shared or posted. This way, around 1,500 third-party apps had open access to photos that users, who did not wish to share the photos on their timeline but had kept in account’s storage. This bug was active for two weeks in September, but Facebook only announced it on Friday.

“We have been investigating the issue since it was discovered to try and understand its impact so that we could ensure we are contacting the right developers and people affected by the bug.” The Facebook spokesperson informed CNN about the reason for the delay in the announcement.

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This again fueled the debates around data privacy and security of giant social media platforms. Irish Data Protection Commission(IDPC), which is watch-dog of social media platforms operation in the European Union has taken cognisance of the breach and ordered an investigation into it.

Recently, The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) had imposed a penalty of 10 million euros ($11.4 million) on Facebook for illegally harvesting the data of its users for commercial purposes. It had observed that Facebook, without the consent of its users, transfers their data to third-party apps.

In October, the Indian government had asked Facebook to submit an explanation for a breach of 40 million user’s information and login tokens, that took place because of a vulnerability that entered in the platform in 2017. The data breach had granted hackers access to personal information including name, relationship status, search activity and recent location of check-ins. Following which Facebook had to reset the login tokens of 50 million users.

This year, a nexus between Cambridge Analytica and political parties had to come to the surface, which exposed a large-scale harvesting of data by parties for political ends. The government of India had also ordered a CBI investigation into the nexus between Cambridge Analytica (CA) and the Indian National Congress that emerged after claims made by a whistleblower Jamie Bartlett.


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