Facebook apps ‘leak’ details

Facebook was yesterday thrown into a new privacy row after it emerged the site is passing on details of millions of users and their friends to internet firms.

An investigation found the social networking site is giving details of users who use apps and games such as the hugely popular FarmVille. The issue affects tens of millions of Facebook users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook’s strictest privacy settings. The site’s bosses today pledged to fix the problem, and said the information was being shared “inadvertently”.

“Our policy is very clear about protecting user data, ensuring that no one can access private user information without explicit user consent,” said Facebook’s Mike Vernal. “Recently, it has come to our attention that several applications built on Facebook Platform were passing the User ID, an identifier that we use within our APIs, in a manner that violated this policy. In most cases, developers did not intend to pass this information, but did so because of the technical details of how browsers work.”