This time the report might have been wrong

That bombshell report yesterday from The New York Times, accusing Facebook of 'privileged' API access to partners... all bunk, according to the company itself. It published not one but two take-downs of the piece:

We’ve been public about these features and partnerships over the years because we wanted people to actually use them – and many people did. They were discussed, reviewed, and scrutinized by a wide variety of journalists and privacy advocates.

I can feel the frustration in their responses, mostly because it seems The New York Times report misunderstood how API access actually worked, and the permissions involved in actually building an app.

Facebook argues that the scary headline that these apps could "read your messages" simply isn't true because it's only the case if the user asks those apps to actually do something, for example, share a message from Spotify into Facebook Messenger.

It provided detailed examples of those permissions and how they worked here, but pointed out that they've long been dead. What it did concede, is that while the program was shut down three years ago, it had left the APIs online with access in-place... whoops!

Here is exactly the company's problem, however: despite the New York Times perhaps befuddling how an API works, the reason they don't understand it is because end users don't either. Everyone's confused, and nobody really trusts any integration at this point... but Facebook still doesn't do well to explain how those work on the service itself.

It doesn't help anyone that Facebook keeps accidentally digging up old, broken APIs it left sitting around, leaking private photos and so on, but what would go a long way is showing users where their data goes, exactly what is shared and providing control that isn't abstracted away.

Of course, that might threaten the ad-funded business model if it turned out there was more happening beyond the surface.

Tab Dump

Apple admits some iPad Pro 2018 models ship with a "slight bend"
Apparently this is a totally normal thing and should be ignored. Not sure if that'll go down super well with consumers...

Pinterest plans a $20B IPO in 2019
A few hot takes: 1) I keep forgetting Pinterest exists. 2) This IPO is huge for a social network in the current climate. 3) Nobody ever says anything bad about Pinterest and that's kind of astounding.

Hackers were in the European Union's network for years
Uh, wow. The way this went down is troublesome; the government only found out about this after leaked files ended up in the hands of reporters via a security firm who discovered the breach, along with the files posted on an open website.

For the first time in 20 years some copyrighted works will enter the public domain

Microsoft open-sourced the UEFI BIOS from Surface devices for all PC makers