Facebook Suspends 200 Apps, Begins Investigation

Facebook app on mobile with laptop in background. Privacy settings are open

Facebook announced today it suspended around 200 apps on suspicion of mishandling user data, as part of its post-Cambridge-Analytica investigations.

As Mark explained, Facebook will investigate all the apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform policies in 2014 - significantly reducing the data apps could access.

The company has investigated "thousands of apps" and "around 200 have been suspended", Ime Archibong, vice president of Product Partnerships at Facebook, wrote in a blog post. Facebook announced that it suspended roughly 200 apps that potentially misuse users' data.

After the revelation in mid-March that the information of up to 87 million Facebook users was accessed by political data consulting firm Cambridge Analytica without permission, Facebook came under fire once again for its privacy practices. The first phase, now underway, consists of Facebook employees and external experts reviewing apps to identify those which had access to an extremely large amount of user data. The company has made its way through thousands of apps thus far, but it sounds like it still has plenty of work left to do on that front.

Facebook suspended the myPersonality app on April 7, though it's unclear when the company learned anyone could have accessed the data.

"The investigation process is in full swing", Archibong said. There are internal and external experts who conduct both on-site and off-site inspections of apps. Before 2015, Facebook had allowed developers-games, quiz apps, calendar extensions and plenty more-to access data not only on the people who downloaded the services, but friends who had not expressly permitted such access.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge shared the data from app myPersonality with hundreds of researchers via an insecure website, New Scientist reports.

The Facebook official also revealed that if the apps misuse the data, the developers would be banned as well.

In recent months, many have wondered how many more companies like Cambridge Analytica have collected private information on Facebook users without their consent. "We will keep you updated on our progress". And Facebook is that little Dutch boy trying to stick his fingers in those data leaks just as fast as he can.

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