Facebook Suspends 200 Apps Suspected To Have Misused User Data

Facebook has announced today that the company has suspended 200 apps that may have misused user data as a part of the aftermath in Cambridge Analytica investigations. Ime Archibong, Facebook VP of Product Partnerships said that companies employees had audited many thousands of applications that had access to large amounts of Facebook’s user data prior to 2014. This comes after the company has changed developer policies which reduced the amount of data they can glean from a particular user.

Archibong also said that Facebook is planning to launch thorough investigations on every one of these companies to find out if they have misused any data. “We will conduct interviews, make requests for information (RFI) — which ask a series of detailed questions about the app and the data it has access to — and perform audits that may include on-site inspections,” Archibong said. He went on to say that all the apps that are misusing data will be listed on Facebook’s help page. The company is also planning on banning the apps that are infringing the company’s policies.

It is not currently clear how long this process will take. Facebook is saying that this process will consist of two phases. The first phase is currently underway which consists of Facebook employees internal and external experts reviewing the apps that have been flagged. The second phase consists of investigating each of the “suspicious” apps one by one, as described above.

There are three promises made by the company’s CEO. Promise 2 and 3 have already been taken care of by the companies employees while the only one which remains is the investigation.

  1. First, we will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014, and we will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity. We will ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit. And if we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps. That includes people whose data Kogan misused here as well.
  2. Second, we will restrict developers’ data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse. For example, we will remove developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in 3 months. We will reduce the data you give an app when you sign in — to only your name, profile photo, and email address. We’ll require developers to not only get approval but also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data. And we’ll have more changes to share in the next few days.
  3. Third, we want to make sure you understand which apps you’ve allowed to access your data. In the next month, we will show everyone a tool at the top of your News Feed with the apps you’ve used and an easy way to revoke those apps’ permissions to your data. We already have a tool to do this in your privacy settings, and now we will put this tool at the top of your News Feed to make sure everyone sees it.”

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