Facebook’s latest data faux pas: app analytics reports sent to the wrong people

Facebook’s data security issues have turned into a nonstop game of whack-a-mole. After having to alert 14 million users that their privacy settings had been switched to public because of a bug earlier this month, Facebook confirms it sent app analytics reports to people outside of the intended app development companies.

“This week, an alarmed developer contacted TechCrunch, informing us that their Facebook App Analytics weekly summary email had been delivered to someone outside their company. It contains sensitive business information including weekly average users, page views, and new users,” writes TechCrunch reporter Josh Constine, who first broke the news.

According to Facebook, the emails were mistakenly sent to people identified as “testers” within app developers’ Facebook analytics accounts. Roughly 3 percent of Facebook Analytics users had their app data sent to the wrong contacts.

Facebook confirmed with Marketing Land that the emails did not include personal information about Facebook users, but they included summaries of the app’s new users, weekly active users and page views. This means sensitive information around a company’s app performance was shared with people outside of the affected companies. Any detailed information meant for app developers was available via a link, but that link did not work for the “tester” group that received the email.

Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne shared the following statement on the data leak:

Due to an error in our email delivery system, weekly business performance summaries we send to developers about their account were also sent to a small group of those developer’s app testers. No personal information about people on Facebook was shared. We’re sorry for the error and have updated our system to prevent it from happening again.

Facebook is notifying impacted apps today and has made technical changes to prevent this from happening in the future.

Facebook’s data security and user privacy issues have been nonstop this year since the company announced it was suspending Cambridge Analytica for exploiting user data. The same week Facebook had to reach out to users about switching their privacy settings, it was also releasing official statements confirming it had shared user data with a number of device-makers, including the China-based Huawei — a company identified by US intelligence agencies as posing a national security threat.

Not only have there been several data-security fires to put out at the company, Facebook is slowly losing some of its top executives. This month, Elliot Schrage, head of communications and policy, announced his plans to leave the company. In May, Jan Kuom, CEO of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp platform, also announced his retirement. Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, said he plans to retire in August.


About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs.com, SoftwareCEO.com, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

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