LONDON: Facebook has revealed that it unintentionally gave software developers access to user date including the names and profile pictures of people in specific groups on the social networking site.
Facebook has been restricting software developer access to its user data following reports in March 2018 that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly accessed the data of 87 million Facebook users to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections.
Following the scandal, Facebook had restricted access so that these outside partners could only see the text of posts or comments from inside groups, but not the names or photos of the people who shared them.
However, it found that some apps retained access to this type of user data despite making changes to its service. The company said that it has now removed the access of the third-party developers.
“As part of our ongoing review, we recently found that some apps retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API, for longer than we intended,” Facebook said in a blog post on Tuesday.
Facebook has declined to share how many Facebook users or group members may have been affected by the issue. The company says that it has now removed this access and are reaching out to the 100 developers.
In the blog post, Facebook further said that they know at least 11 partners accessed group members’ information in the last 60 days. “Although we’ve seen no evidence of abuse, we will ask them to delete any member data they may have retained and we will conduct audits to confirm that it has been deleted,” the post read.