Facebook Suspends 200 Apps To Investigate Data Misuse

Posted May 15, 2018

Following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook said it would begin a thorough audit and investigation of all apps on its platform with access to large amounts of user data.

Facebook also declined to comment on what marks these apps as suspicious, but did say it would notify people if their data had been misused after the review process is complete. Facebook's data policy was changed back in 2014 to reduce the amount of information that apps had available to them. In a blog posting, Archibong says the suspensions do not mean the apps misused data, only that there are grounds for a further audit.

He further stated that Facebook has large teams of internal and external experts working through apps that need investigating as quickly as possible. "And if we find developers [who] misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps".

Among people in control of the personal data of millions of Facebook users were academics Michal Kosinski and David Stillwell, as well as Alexander Kogan, who would later be found in the middle of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook would be launching a tool at the top of the News Feed showing what apps a user has used and offer a simple way to revoke access to data. The app collected data such as user location, friends, and interests.

The social media company has claimed that "thousands" of apps have undergone its scanner.

The first stage of Facebook's review has seen 200 apps suspended.

Thousands of apps have already been screened, and around 200 apps have already been suspended for either rejecting the RFI or violating data access policies. But banning an app from Facebook's ecosystem is not the same as recovering or forcing developers to delete the information they took, let alone tracking down who those developers might have shared information with. If they did, Facebook said it would ban them and let people know via a dedicated page on its Help Center, just like it did with Cambridge Analytica. At present, therefore, that only has details on the "This Is Your Digital Life" test, the app from which data eventually made its way to Cambridge Analytica. Facebook claims that it will oust apps whose developers that break their rules.