Facebook discovers and “punishes” UID-selling developers

The recent discovery that some Facebook application were inadvertently forwarding users’ UIDs to advertising agencies and data collection companies has spurred the social network to investigate the matter thoroughly and to try to think of a platform-wide solution that would prevent that from happening ever again.

But, the investigation uncovered a surprising fact – some developers were sharing the UIDs with data brokers for a fee. “While we determined that no private user data was sold and confirmed that transfer of these UIDs did not give access to any private data, this violation of our policy is something we take seriously,” said Facebook engineer Mike Vernal.

“As such, we are taking action against these developers by instituting a 6-month full moratorium on their access to Facebook communication channels, and we will require these developers to submit their data practices to an audit in the future to confirm that they are in compliance with our policies.”

According to him, less than a dozen developers have been found guilty of sharing the UIDs. Most are small developers and their applications can’t be found in the list of the top 10 most popular applications on Facebook.

Rapleaf – the data-collecting firm that has tied the Facebook ID information obtained through various applications to a database of Internet users and has put it on sale – has entered into an agreement with Facebook that will see them deleting every UID they got their hands on and prevent them from carrying out any future activities on the social network’s platform – either directly or indirectly.