Facebook Verified App— Not So Verified After All

Every other person out there is developing apps nowadays, and while some apps are good at what they do, others abuse the security of their platform to steal data. In these dire situations, it comes as a relief when the platform starts checking these apps and gives them a badge of trust, like a “verified app”. Almost every app store has a verified app scheme. Android has a top-developer rating, Google Chrome Web Store shows a small green tick and Facebook had a “verified app” scheme too, until December 2009.

With Facebook, the verified app system worked a bit differently. Not only were these verified apps supposed to be secure, they also enjoyed certain promotional privileges, all for a price. Some developers have even paid Facebook $95,000 to enter as a verified app in Facebook! The Guardian writes,

Developers paid Facebook $375, or $175 for a student or non-profit organization, to be given the green tick. Verified apps were given other benefits including prominence in its search results and a higher ranking on the directory of apps.

What if you were using an app that said it was verified, when in fact it was just given the badge without any verification. After nearly two years and because of an ongoing FTC investigation, Facebook’s verified app system is under scrutiny now. Seemingly, the verified apps were nothing special, and they underwent the same checks as any other app on the Facebook platform. In short, Facebook charged developers for a fake verification, and a verified badge.

Guardian’s Josh Halliday has brought the matter to public notice, and this makes it hard times for Facebook. Facebook took a blow last Friday too, when another judgment was passed in the ongoing FTC Act investigation, which stated that Facebook would have regular privacy inspections for the next 20 years.

Although live only for six months, the verified apps system has earned Facebook a lifetime of notoriety. Facebook is yet to respond on this allegation. I seriously hope the response is something substantial, because if the allegation is true, Facebook being one of the largest internet companies out there, it undermines the whole system of verified apps.

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.