How serious is Facebook about privacy? Attribution analytics provider HasOffers and mobile analytics provider Kontagent found out the hard way, as AdExchanger reported that the two companies were booted out of the social network’s mobile measurement partner program for violating its policies.
According to AdExchanger, infractions by HasOffers and Kontagent included retaining data on Facebook users for longer time periods than specified by their contracts, and failing to require application developers using their platforms for advertising to update their privacy policies in order to notify those apps’ users about data collection.
AdExchanger reported that the violations were discovered during a routine privacy audit of Facebook’s MMPs, conducted by an outside auditor, and the social network said in a statement:
After working with a third-party auditor to review the practices of all of our mobile measurement partners, we discovered that some weren’t adhering to the terms they agreed to. As a result, we’ve removed a couple of our partners from the program. We take our contracts seriously, and we will continue to act swiftly anytime we find out they are being violated.
UPDATED: Kontagent CEO Andy Yang responded to Facebook’s action with a note on the company’s website, and highlights included:
I’d like to take this opportunity to offer some clarity on the situation. We have held a longstanding relationship with Facebook. As a social and mobile analytics provider, we work with Facebook data to provide our many customers with important information like virality and app install tracking. We will continue to provide our customers with this information; however, we will not be accessing Facebook data to attribute app installs moving forward.
More specifically, we will continue working with Facebook as a market-leading provider of analytics for its social and mobile app developers, as well as for attribution on the Web.
Addressing our participation in the mobile measurement program, I’d like to mention that no data leakage, user privacy, or security integrity failures occurred. Data security and privacy are primary concerns at our company, and also a growing and important global issue. We’ve been in the business of data for seven years and have never had a privacy and data security issue. We take this issue very seriously, and I can strongly state that privacy was not the concern as communicated to us by our representatives at Facebook (and its auditing firm).
We ran into issues with Facebook’s policy due to the length of time we stored MMP data and the ultimate location where that data was stored.
In short, Kontagent created an encryption policy that we designed to completely protect user privacy while addressing Facebook’s policy in one elegant solution. In hindsight, while our intentions were good, we overthought the solution when a more basic approach would have better met Facebook’s requirements.
I completely respect the audits that Facebook conducts to ensure that its partners are properly compliant. We feel that each of these requirements can be quickly addressed, and we hope to have the opportunity to participate in MMP again.
Facebook’s 11 remaining MMPs are:
Readers: What did you think of Facebook’s move to remove HasOffers and Kontagent from its MMP program?
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