It's no secret that Facebook has had some privacy
issues in the past. Around this time last year, Facebook CEO Mark
Zuckerberg noted that, "people online today just don't have the same
expectations of privacy online anymore," to which many disagreed.
Now, Symantec has
announced that the personal information of Facebook users may have been leaked
accidentally to third parties over the last few years.
"We estimate that as of April 2011, close to
100,000 applications were enabling this leakage," said Symantec in its official
blog. "Over the years, hundreds of thousands of applications may have
inadvertently leaked millions of access tokens to third parties."
According to Symantec, the third parties were
advertisers that would have had access to user information like photographs,
chat and profiles. They could even post messages if they wanted to. But
Symantec also added that third parties might not have even known that they were
able to access the sensitive information.
Of course, Facebook didn't take these claims lying
down. Facebook spokeswoman Malorie Lucich released a statement saying that
Symantec's accusations disregarded the "contractual obligations of
advertisers and developers," which restricts them from acquiring or
spreading this information in a way that infringe on Facebook policy. She also
noted that Facebook has removed the outdated Application Programming Interface
(API) that Symantec had mentioned.
"Unfortunately, their (Symantec's) resulting
report has a few inaccuracies," said Lucich. "Specifically, we have
conducted a thorough investigation which revealed no evidence of this issue
resulting in a user's private
information being shared with unauthorized third parties."