Facebook and Twitter Data was Exposed to Developers
Facebook and Twitter announced on Monday that the data of hundreds of users may have been accessed improperly after their accounts were used for logging into Google Play Store apps on Android devices. There is no indication that iOS users were affected.
The companies were notified of the vulnerability by third-party security researchers, Twitter said in a blog. The researchers discovered that a development kit named One Audience gave outside developers access to personal information, including usernames and email addresses. If someone used their Twitter account to log in to these apps, their most recent tweets were also accessible.
A Facebook spokesperson told The Verge, “After investigating, we removed the apps from our platform for violating our platform policies and issued cease and desist letters against One Audience and Mobiburn. We plan to notify people whose information we believe was likely shared after they had granted these apps permission to access their profile information like name, email and gender. We encourage people to be cautious when choosing which third-party apps are granted access to their social media accounts.” For clarification on the specific data revealed, Facebook said any data shared with the app could have been leaked, but the specific information “depends on the app and the permissions users allowed.”
Twitter said in a blog post that the “issue is not due to a vulnerability in Twitter’s software, but rather the lack of isolation between SDKs [software development kits] within an application.” The company will notify users of Twitter for Android who may have been impacted. Twitter said that it has also notified Google and Apple of the vulnerability “so they can take further action if needed.”
This isn’t the only controversy to hit Facebook this week. The company is launching a new market research app called Viewpoints. This news comes just a few months after the company introduced an Android data collection app called Study. Earlier in the year, Facebook announced that it would shut down a controversial market research app that offers volunteers between the ages of 13 and 35 monthly $20 gift cards in exchange for near-total access to the data on their phones.
In addition to these controversies, Facebook is also building an Instagram-style Close Friends feature for Messenger. The feature is currently under development under the name “Favorites.” The feature would let you manually designate certain friends to be in your inner circle. Then, whenever you have a Story or camera post you’d like to share using Messenger, you could send it to this list. However, Facebook says the feature isn’t a way of restricting who sees your actual Facebook Story.