New updates for Messenger as Facebook reviews all apps in the aftermath of Cambridge Analytica

27th Mar 2018
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The problems of Facebook seem to be mounting. With the embers still warm from the fake news crisis and Russia’s involvement in the US election via Facebook, a new fire flared up when the Cambridge Analytica data breach incident came to light last week.

Image: Shutterstock

Facebook faced a lot of flak when it came to light that British firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly used the Facebook data of nearly 50 million users for questionable purposes. CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence on the matter with a post where he claimed that it was the social media giant’s responsibility to protect users’ data and outlined the steps the company would take from here on.

This was followed by full-page newspaper ads across 10 newspapers around the world over the weekend which carried an apology signed off by Mark.

With WhatsApp Co-founder Brian Acton joining the #deletefacebook movement, Elon Musk actually deleting the SpaceX and Tesla Facebook pages, and Mozilla pulling its ads from the platform’s network, the backlash has been non-stop.

While Facebook has managed to deal with the public relations bit, the team is now looking within to ensure a repeat of the Cambridge Analytica episode is avoided in the future.

One of the latest announcements to come in is changes to the Messenger app. Ime Archibong, VP, Platform Partnerships announced a few updates, many of which affect Messenger too. All of these changes are meant to provide people with more security and control of their data.

While Facebook reviews all its policies and makes adjustments accordingly, it will pause all app reviews and not add any new bots/experiences.

In his post, Ime mentions that the existing Messenger app will not see any changes and continue to function as it is. Meanwhile, as part of the review, this is what Facebook plans to do, as per the post shared by Ime:

Investigate: Facebook will scrutinise and audit all apps with access to large amounts of data before the company changed its platform policies in 2014 to reduce data access.

Share: If Facebook discovers any misuse by developers, especially regarding personally identifiable data, then it will penalise them by banning them from the platform. Also, people who used the app will be informed of the data misuse.

Encourage: In the coming months, Facebook is going to help people make better choices by showing more prominently what data the apps connected to their accounts are using.

More security: Ime’s post mentions that the developers will need to comply with rigorous terms and policies, especially developers that build applications for other businesses.

Resolve vulnerabilities: Facebook is updating the terms of its bug bounty program so any bugs or vulnerabilities or misuse can be reported and dealt with quickly.

Ime signed off with, “On behalf of everyone on the Messenger team, we want to thank you all in advance for your patience, and for all the work you’ve done to make this the awesome global community it is.”

Facebook has its work cut out for the next few weeks, if not months. It’s a long journey as they look within to change things and make the millions of people and their data a priority. As time passes, one can likely expect more updates from the Facebook team as it identifies and blocks loopholes and vulnerabilities in its various applications.

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