Facebook Suspends 200 Apps That May Have Mishandled User Data

James Marshall
May 14, 2018

In its first update since the company announced in March it was conducting an internal audit, the company said that the apps would be going through a complete investigation into if they misused data of users.

Thousands of different apps have gone through investigations thus far, and Facebook said that any app refusing to be cooperative or that failed the system's audit would be banned. Facebook also will ban apps if their developers refuse to participate in an audit. If the company finds an app misused user data, Facebook users will be notified through a special website.

To date, Facebook says is has investigated "thousands" of apps. In late March, media reported that the personal information of about 50 million Facebook users had been harvested by Cambridge Analytica without the social media site's consent during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

Mark Zuckerberg announced the internal investigation on 21 March, following the revelations about Cambridge Analytica and the site.

Mired in the massive data breach controversy, Facebook has rolled out biggest-ever shuffle at the senior management level since its inception - across platforms, including WhatsApp and Messenger.

While separate incidents, there are many ties between this latest leak and the incident involving Cambridge Analytica. Instead, the company is simply investigating apps that have access to large amounts of data.

The investigation is one of a series of responses from Facebook following the data scandal, with new tools having also been rolled out to users to provide clearer access app permissions and privacy settings. They will be conducting interviews and sending requests for information (to find in detail what kind of data they had access to). In addition it would reduce the amount of data given to an app when users sign in to only their name, profile photo, and email address. The suspended apps are pending further investigation, which will involve verified if any data was misused by the apps.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 3:02 p.m. ET on May 14, 2018 to include a comment from a Facebook spokesperson.

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