The games are back on. After a weekend of removal from Facebook, LOLapps announced on its blog that all game services are back.
Facebook took into action to remove apps that are violating its terms, specifically passing user ID to outside firms. LOLapps admitted the issue but claimed that it was unintentional. It quoted statement from Facebook’s blog “In most cases, developers did not intend to pass this information, but did so because of the technical details of how browsers work.” and stated that it ”applies to Lolapps”. However, the blog does not include details in how the issue was being resolved.
It must be a great relieve for millions of game players and we’re all glad that the issue has been resolved reasonably quick. It can have great impact to both LOLapps and Facebook if the issue drags on for too long. Not only will LOLapps loses revenue for not having any services up on Facebook, slowly users and game developers will turn against Facebook as they become upset with the inefficiency and complication in being a social game platform.
From the WSJ report, top Facebook apps have been passing user information to advertizing and internet research firms, giving them access to users names or even users’ friends’ names. The apps in question include the popular FarmVille, Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille from Zygna Game Network Inc.
Facebook user ID is being shared and that’s the unique ID that Facebook assigned to each user. Even with the private account setting, this can be used to find out the name of the user. For accounts that have access set to public, all information such as email, age, occupation, etc. are accessible.
Facebook confirmed some of the issues in its blog and states that they are “committed to ensuring that even the inadvertent passing of UIDs is prevented and all applications are in compliance with our policy.”
According to WSJ, Facebook has disabled thousands of applications at times for violating its policies. With their response to the LOLapps games’ shut down, it is very likely that the UID breaching is a related issue. The Journal found some of LOLapps’ applications do transmit information out to third party.
People are getting used to the Facebook world and most are being too comfortable in it. This is definitely not as safe of a place as you think. Just like the wild Internet out there, there are all sorts of security holes around. As suggested by Facebook, they “encourage you to review (our) policy and your use of user information, including UIDs.” Don’t let down your guard just because you’re there to play games and feel too safe thinking that you’re surrounded only by your own friends.