Facebook Suspends 200 Suspicious Apps

Facebook F8

Since March Facebook has investigated thousands of apps suspected of misusing data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. 

In a blog post published yesterday, Facebook Vice President of Product Partnerships, Ime Archibong gave an update on the app investigation and audit that is currently underway. In March, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the firm would investigate all the apps that were given access to large amounts of Facebook user information before the company changed its platform policies in 2014; changes that significantly reduced the data apps could access.

At the time of the announcement, Zuckerberg claimed that the firm would audit apps that were a cause for concern, and those who refused or failed an audit would be banned from operating on the social media platform.

In Full Swing

Archibong claimed the investigation process “is in full swing” and assured readers that “the firm has large teams of internal and external experts working hard to investigate these apps as quickly as possible.” The investigation will have two phases, first involving a comprehensive review to identify every app that had access to large amounts of user data.

Secondly, he confirmed that “where we have concerns, we will conduct interviews, make Requests For Information (RFI).” This process involves asking a series of highly detailed questions about the app itself, as well as the data it has access to. Additionally, Archibong claimed that if need be, Facebook would conduct on-site app inspections.

According to Archibong, thousands of apps had already been investigated, with around 200 having been suspended pending an investigation. These suspended apps are under intense scrutiny as the social media firm looks to establish whether or not they misused data.

Any apps found to have misused data will be banned and users will be notified via the Facebook website. This process will involve notifying users if they or their friends have installed an app that misused data before 2015.

Archibong concluded the blog post by seeking to reassure users that the firm is doing all it can to establish precisely who had been misusing Facebook data, but insisted that the process will take time. He said: “There is a lot more work to be done to find all the apps that may have misused people’s Facebook data – and it will take time.”

“We are investing heavily to make sure this investigation is as thorough and timely as possible. We will keep you updated on our progress.”

Reactionary Investigations

Facebook has been under intense criticism for some time now. In the wake of the 2016 US Elections and Brexit Referendum, the social media platform was embroiled in a scandal, which included accusations of foreign meddling by Russian assets.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal blew the lid on the true extent of Facebook’s data standards – or their lack of – and exposed the public to the potentially hazardous, dark nature of data harvesting by analytics firms. Since the scandal there have been calls for Facebook to be split up in a move similar to that taken against Microsoft at the turn of the millennium.

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