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    Wall Street Journal: Facebook Says User Data Sold To Broker

    The Wall Street Journal reports on a privacy issue at social-networking site Facebook:

    Facebook Inc. said that a data broker has been paying application developers for identifying user information, and that it had placed some developers on a six-month suspension from its site because of the practice. [...]

    Some “apps,” the small programs that let users play games or share information with each other on the social-networking site, were sending users’ Facebook ID numbers to third-party marketing or data firms, in violation of Facebook’s privacy policies. An ID can be used to look up a user’s name and other publicly available information on the social network and link it to their use of the app. Such information can be used by companies that build profiles of Internet users by tracking their online activities. [...]

    Facebook didn’t identify the data broker that was buying user IDs. But it said it had reached an agreement with RapLeaf Inc., which it described as “the data broker who came forward to work with us on this situation.” It’s unclear whether Facebook is implicating RapLeaf and neither company responded to questions.

    Under the agreement, Rap Leaf agreed to delete all Facebook user IDs in its possession, and also agreed “not to conduct any activities on the Facebook Platform” in the future, according to Facebook. [...]

    Facebook didn’t specify which app developers it had suspended, but said it affects fewer than a dozen, mostly small ones. Facebook also said it was adding a mechanism so app developers that need to share a unique identifier with outside parties, such as content partners, can do so in an anonymous fashion.

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