Posted on September 23, 2019 by staff

Facebook bans tens of thousands of apps


Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps as part of its investigation following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The social network has been carrying out an app developer investigation since March 2018 and has now moved to suspend apps associated with around 400 developers.

Ime Archibong, VP of product partnerships, gave the update in a company blog post.

“Our app developer investigation is by no means finished. To date, this investigation has addressed millions of apps. Of those, tens of thousands have been suspended for a variety of reasons while we continue to investigate,” he wrote.

“This is not necessarily an indication that these apps were posing a threat to people. Many were not live but were still in their testing phase when we suspended them.

“It is not unusual for developers to have multiple test apps that never get rolled out.

“And in many cases, the developers did not respond to our request for information so we suspended them, honouring our commitment to take action.”

One of the apps which was banned was myPersonality, which shared information with researchers and companies with only limited protections in place.

Archibong said the developers refused Facebook’s request to participate in an audit.

He continued: “In a few cases, we have banned apps completely. That can happen for any number of reasons including inappropriately sharing data obtained from us, making data publicly available without protecting people’s identity or something else that was in clear violation of our policies.

“We have not confirmed other instances of misuse to date other than those we have already notified the public about, but our investigation is not yet complete.”

Archibong said Facebook has removed some APIs which developers can use to access various types of data.

“We have also developed new rules to more strictly control a developer’s access to user data. Apps that provide minimal utility for users, like personality quizzes, may not be allowed on Facebook,” he said.

“Apps may not request a person’s data unless the developer uses it to meaningfully improve the quality of a person’s experience. They must also clearly demonstrate to people how their data would be used to provide them that experience.”