Tech

Facebook bans quiz app that leaked data of 4 M users, suspends 400 more

Sohini Mitter
23rd Aug 2018
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Following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook launched an investigation into thousands of apps on its platform.

In a fresh set of revelations on Wednesday, Facebook announced that one of the apps it gave access to leaked data of over four million users to researchers at third-party companies.

The app, myPersonality, which conducted psychometric quizzes on the Facebook platform, has now been banned by the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company. It was earlier revealed that myPersonality collected intimate user data and leaked it to psychology researchers at Cambridge University.

Mark Zuckerberg (Image: Flickr)

Facebook said that it would be informing the affected four million users, but it currently has “no evidence” if myPersonality obtained information from users’ friends too. If it did, those users would be notified too, thus potentially magnifying the size of the data leak.

Facebook VP of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong, stated:

“We banned myPersonality — an app that was mainly active prior to 2012 — from Facebook for failing to agree to our request to audit and because it’s clear that they shared information with researchers as well as companies with only limited protections in place.”

The social networking giant launched app investigations in March this year, following the Cambridge Analytica exposé which led to a $100 billion erosion in its market cap. It deployed “large teams of internal and external experts” to investigate “thousands of apps” as quickly as possible.

Facebook revealed that it has “suspended more than 400 due to concerns around the developers who built them or how the information people chose to share with the app may have been used”. As per its new App Review policies, no user information is shared with developers if users haven’t accessed their apps in 90 days.

Cambridge Analytica, of course, shut shop in May. Shortly after, Facebook published internal guidelines on how it enforces Community Standards. It drew up a list of what is acceptable on its platform when it comes to hate speech, violence, fake accounts, adult content and nudity, graphic violence, and terrorist propaganda.

Facebook claimed that it took down 837 million pieces of spam in Q1 2018. “We will continue to investigate apps and make the changes needed to our platform to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect people’s information,” it added.

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