Facebook Suspends Tens Of Thousands Of Apps

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Social network says probe has addressed ‘millions’ of apps so far, as company seeks to repair its image in wake of Cambridge Analytica data scandal

Facebook said it has suspended tens of thousands of apps from the platform as part of an investigation launched in response to last year’s Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal.

The apps suspended were associated with about 400 developers, the company said, adding that the apps in question didn’t necessarily pose a threat to users.

Last year Facebook was alleged to have improperly allowed Cambridge Analytica, a now-defunct political consultancy, to access the data of millions of users for political campaign purposes.

In July the company paid a record $5 billion (£4bn) fine to the US Federal Trade Commission over the matter.

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Criticism

The scandal has also embroiled Facebook in lawsuits and criticism by lawmakers both domestically and abroad.

In response, in March 2018 the company launched an investigation into apps on the platform, involving hundreds of lawyers, data scientists and engineers.

The review has helped Facebook “better understand patterns of abuse” and to “root out bad actors”, said Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice-president for product partnerships, in a statement issued late on Friday.

He said many of the suspended apps had not yet been launched but were being tested.

App ban

“To date, this investigation has addressed millions of apps,” Archibong stated.  “Of those, tens of thousands have been suspended for a variety of reasons while we continue to investigate.”

In “a few” cases apps have been banned completely for reasons including inappropriate data sharing, making data publicly available without proper protections or other policy violations, he said.

Facebook is also currently under fire for plans to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra, which critics said could open the door to further abuses of personal data, as well as other issues such as money-laundering.

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