Unsealed Docs In App Privacy Suit Reveal Wide Access To Facebook User Data

In 2018, Facebook’s troubling data practices were exposed to the world through the Cambridge Analytica scandal. During that controversy, it was revealed that the social media giant offered app developers nearly limitless access to users’ private data without getting their consent first. That incident led Facebook to create a third-party app audit to assess how other apps may have been siphoning our info. The company fought for years to keep the results of that audit under wraps, but some of the findings have come to light in a recent privacy lawsuit — and they’re not good.

According to the unsealed Facebook docs, two top app developers — Zynga and Yahoo — were able to scrape the data of not only their users, but all those users’ friends. This was the same method that Cambridge Analytica used to involuntarily collect user data. In fact, this practice was so widespread that the plaintiffs in this privacy case allege that every Facebook user may have been affected.

“In some cases, the app developers were suspected of selling user information collected via friend permissions, which obviously is not a use of data ‘only in connection with the person that gave the permission and no one else,’” the plaintiffs wrote in one filing. “Moreover, the documents demonstrate that the violations of the contractual term were so pervasive that it is near certain they affected every single Facebook user.”

Time will tell if this privacy suit gains any traction, but at the very least it’s exposing more of Facebook’s troubling history with data privacy.

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