Facebook suspends around 200 suspicious apps of "thousands investigated"

Ismael LynchMay 15, 2018

The move is part of an audit run by the company to examine how many third-party apps had extensive access to user information, and how many used that data inappropriately.

Facebook also declined to comment on what marks these apps as suspicious, but did say it would notify people if their data had been misused after the review process is complete. The second phase, according to Facebook, is to conduct interviews, make requests for information (RFI) where it has concerns.

The social media giant is conducting a review, as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal.

"We have large teams of internal and external experts working hard to investigate these apps as quickly as possible", the website said. 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.

This investigation started with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which revealed just how easily app developers could gather information about Facebook users and their friends.

According to New Scientist reporters, the data found sitting on the aforementioned site includes status updates, personal details (age, gender, relationship status) and "Big Five" personality scores of millions of users who used the app.

The social network has not given a specific figure about how many apps have so far been investigated, referring only to "thousands" of apps. In 2014, Facebook changed its policies to block apps from acquiring users' friends' data unless their friends had independently authorized the app. Facebook's audit update does claim that the "How can I tell if an app may have misused my Facebook information?" page, released in March, will allow users to see if any of these other apps have also taken their information without permission. Facebook will continue updating users on its progress against data privacy violations over the weeks until the audit process is complete for all apps.

The app's creators, David Stillwell and Michal Kosinski, reportedly were involved with a company called Cambridge Personality Research, which sold a tool for ad targeting based on myPersonality data sets. We will reduce the data you give an app when you sign in - to only your name, profile photo, and email address.

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