Major Facebook apps have been leaking user IDs, including FarmVille

Facebook cannot seem to get its act together. Fresh off a string of controversies about protecting the information users wish to keep private, the world’s largest social network has admitted that many of its largest games and applications have been leaking user IDs to advertising networks. In fact, the 10 most widely used games and apps on Facebook are transmitting these UIDs, says the Wall Street Journal. Three of the top 10 apps, including Zynga Game Network Inc.’s FarmVille (59 million users) also transmit personal information about a users friends to other companies.


The user ID is the number associated with every user on the site. Before Facebook allowed customized URLs for profile pages, it was easy for anyone to find this number. The user ID is not a private part of a person’s Facebook profile. Knowing someone’s UID will only grant access to the information that user has set to share with “everyone,” which is usually very basic pieces of data like pictures, hometown, age, job, musical preferences, etc. However, when given in bulk, these numbers can provide a database of track-able information to advertisers.

Facebook’s Mike Vernal publicly responded to the controversy on the company’s developer blog, claiming that many publishers have, in fact, violated its privacy policy by sharing UIDs with ad networks, but added that most companies “did not intend to pass this information, but did so because of the technical details of how browsers work.”

This is not the first UID leak problem the company has faced. In May, the WSJ discovered that Facebook itself was sharing UIDs with advertising networks through its ad sales. Much like today, Facebook admitted the problem and claimed it did not intend to share the user IDs. The company says that the current problem is more challenging.

Still, there are 550,000 third party apps on Facebook and 70 percent of the companies 500 million users utilize at least one app each month. Holding all-hands security meetings is nice, but Facebook must prove it is capable of honoring and enforcing its own privacy policy.


Latest Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos

An API bug recently left an impact on Facebook users. Though the issue has since been fixed, some of the apps on the platform had a wrongful access to consumers photos for 12 days between September 13 and September 25. 

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.

Apple's iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to switch cameras in FaceTime

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.

Don't keep typing the same thing -- learn to copy and paste with these shortcuts!

Looking for useful Windows keyboard shortcuts? The most common are the cut, copy, paste and undo shortcuts compatible with all kinds of tasks. They can save you an awful lot of time if you learn how to use them.

You can now get a Surface Laptop 2 for $800 at the Microsoft Store

Along with deals on other variants, starting configurations of Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 are now going for $800 online at its retail store, cutting $200 from its usual $1,000 starting price. 

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.

You’ll soon be able to scribble all over PDFs on your Chromebook

Chrome OS users may soon be able to doodle all over their PDF documents with the possible addition of a new feature in Chrome OS' PDF viewer. The annotation feature is expected to allow users to hand draw or write over their documents.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.

Microsoft’s Windows 95 throwback was just an ugly sweater giveaway

Microsoft's "softwear" announcement wasn't what we had hoped for. Thursday's announcement was not the new line of wearable tech or SkiFree monster sweater we wished for. But it did deliver the 90s nostalgia we wanted.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.

Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.