Facebook suspends 200 apps for data misuse as part of post-Cambridge Analytica investigation
It includes the myPersonality app that collected intimate user data and leaked it to psychology researchers at Cambridge University.
In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that has rocked Facebook over the last two months, the social networking giant announced that it has suspended “around 200 apps” on its platform for data misuse.
These apps were identified in the course of Facebook’s ongoing audit of its own platform, which has served as a fertile ground for third-party apps to breach user privacy.
Facebook is currently investigating “all the apps that had access to large amounts of information” before it changed its platform policies in 2014 — which significantly reduced data access to apps.
In an official blogpost, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s VP of Product Partnerships, announced,
The investigation process is in full swing, and it has two phases. First, a comprehensive review to identify every app that had access to this amount of Facebook data. And second, where we have concerns, 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.
Facebook said that it had deployed “large teams of internal and external experts” to investigate these apps as quickly as possible.
While it did not reveal the apps that faced the axe, Facebook told AFP that myPersonality was one of them. The app is believed to have collected intimate psychological data shared by over three million users who took its “psychometric” tests via Facebook. A separate investigation by New Scientist has revealed that the data was made available to qualifying researchers at The Psychometrics Centre of Cambridge University.
Facebook’s Archibong said,
We suspended the myPersonality app almost a month ago because we believe that it may have violated Facebook's policies. We are currently investigating the app, and if myPersonality refuses to co-operate or fails our audit, we will ban it.
Meanwhile, Facebook announced that it would be notifying users via this website in case their data had been misused. “It will show people if they or their friends installed an app that misused data before 2015 — just as we did for Cambridge Analytica,” the social networking firm said.