Friday December 14, 2018

Facebook Reveals Photo API Bug

On their developer website, Facebook revealed a bug in their Photo API that "may have affected people who used Facebook Login and granted permission to third-party apps to access their photos." Facebook claims some "third parties" may have had access to more photos than they were supposed to between September 13 and September 25, 2018, and that the bug may have affected "up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers." While Facebook disclosed the bug today, the company told VentureBeat that "it found the bug on September 25, and that it notified the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC) as soon as it established that it was considered a reportable breach" on November 22.

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When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline. In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories. The bug also impacted photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post. For example, if someone uploads a photo to Facebook but doesn't finish posting it - maybe because they've lost reception or walked into a meeting - we store a copy of that photo so the person has it when they come back to the app to complete their post... We're sorry this happened. Early next week we will be rolling out tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug. We will be working with those developers to delete the photos from impacted users. We will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert on Facebook.