2009-06-12

Has facebook accessed MSN API without permission?

** UPDATE: I've started a group on (of all places) Facebook **
My wife was confused recently. Facebook suggested we might know a certain person. We did know her, but how did FB know? She had no friends in common with this person.

Then today it showed her someone else she might know. This time a guy we used to talk to on MSN years ago, again no common friends. Then soon after yet another person we haven't spoken to in years, again no common friends.

So what was the pattern? We looked at her MSN account and all of these people had previously been contacts but had since been removed - they were however all still in the "allow" list. So how has FB come up with this list of people? My suspicion is that it has used the MSN API to access my wife's account without permission. For non vital web stuff such as MSN and FB she uses the same password, so it would have been possible to access her MSN details because the email/password are the same as her FB credentials.

I can see no other way that these people could have been suggested.

Person 1:
We have stayed on a farm in Cornwall a few times now. The couple who own the farm were having problems with their computer and I agreed to use MSN to view thier screen and help them to install a virus killer etc. We used their daughter's MSN account to connect up because they didn't have one.

Person 2:
A programmer from the #Delphi channel on Undernet. Haven't spoken to this guy in years. I added him on MSN at some point to arrange a visit to his house in Surrey about 8 years ago.

Person 3:
A guy we got chatting to on NetMeeting when we first got access to the Internet back in about 1994/1995 - we spoke to him on and off for a few months.

None of these people are in my wife's MSN contact list any more, but they are in an "Allow" list.

This leaves me suspecting 2 things
1: FaceBook stores your password in a format that can be reversed and they can read what it is.
2: FaceBook have accessed my wife's MSN account for contacts without her permission.



13 comments:

Anonymous said...

maybe they submitted their contact lists to FB...

Peter Morris said...

Possible, but all 3 within the last week? A bit to coincidental, don't you think?

Rik Hemsley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It happened excatly the same to me this week. 4 suggestions of people from my MSN contact list.

Nick Crisp said...

Facebook has just suggested Jonas Hogstrom to me. I don't have any contacts anywhere for Jonas, or anything to do with Capable Objects on my Facebook. Odd

Barry Kelly said...

If FB were building a search engine...

Anonymous said...

I have just had the same thing happen to me. I find it pretty scary. I dont think that FB would use the password to access the account instead they must have done a deal with microsoft but I still dont like this creeping information gathering and assuming I wish to publicise to these others that I may want them on my FB which is a much more personal space to me then MSN where u can keep people at a distance

Peter Morris said...

Hi "Anonymous"

Thanks for posting your comment. It is beginning to look more and more like my wife's suspicions were right, isn't it?

This surely is not legal.

Anonymous said...

They undoubtedly have accessed her email without permission. The same thing happened to me with Yahoo email. I didn't allow it to search, yet there were all sorts of people suggested, and the only information FB had was my email address. I hadn't put anything else in. It definitely cannot be legal and is most disturbing. I knew there was a reason I have avoided Facebook until a brief lapse today.

~~C

kim said...

have the same symptoms, where the only connection with the suggested friends is that i have them in my msn contact list. and i have NEVER even added a friend by email adress, or searched for friends via my email contact list. i googled just to see if more ppl have reacted to this. i'm gonna keep looking for more info...

Anonymous said...

FB are creating a huge database of everyones details and even photographs to go with it.... its just one huge world wide database that everyone quite happily gives over some if not everything about them!! just another way of pulling big brother in that little bit closer

Miss Pilks said...

Their all connected! every single one of every single persons accounts...email, bank, ebay, FB, myspace.... all connected!!

Anonymous said...

When I first opened a Facebook account, it asked if I would like provide the password for my email account so it could search my email address book for friends who might be on Facebook. I had no interest in giving my password, so I was very surprised when Facebook was still immediately able to suggest "friends" who actually were people I had had email contact with -- but, they were not people who had ever been in my email address book, rather, they were people who had emailed me from Craigslist about things I had for sale. Over time, this list has expanded, and the only way I can conceive of Facebook being able to access this information is if they are looking in my Windows Live Mail email browser, at all the people who have emailed me. One day a woman will email me about some chairs I have for sale, and then a few days later I am looking at her face on Facebook, as a suggested "friend". It leaves me speechless, and more than a little bit angry.