Facebook has suspended some 200 apps as part of a purportedly thorough review into applications on the platform that misuse personal user data, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
According to today’s blog post by Facebook’s vice president of Partnerships, Ime Archibong, the company is following through with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s promise last month to investigate and audit untrustworthy apps. The company will look into any and all applications with access to significant amounts of user data before 2014—which marked a policy change restricting data access to apps. If an app sticks out as potentially more nefarious than the rest, it’ll get audited—with a failure to cooperate resulting in its banishment from Facebook.
Cambridge Analytica was a political consultancy firm, which not only improperly obtained personal user data through various apps on Facebook, but allegedly used it to understand and influence voters in the 2016 Presidential election—with many citizens confident it contributed to Donald Trump’s election. Last month, Zuckerberg testified in Congress, telling senators he’s “responsible for what happens here.” This latest development is a clear step toward publicly acting on that responsibility.
“The investigation process is in full swing, and it has two phases,” wrote Archibong. “First, a comprehensive review to identify every app that had access to this amount of Facebook data. And second, where we have concerns, we will conduct interviews, make requests for information (RFI)—which ask a series of detailed questions about the app and the data it has access to—and perform audits that may include on-site inspections.”
According to Archibong, “thousands of apps have been investigated and around 200 have been suspended” thus far. If the company does indeed find evidence that these apps intentionally or unintentionally misused user data, they will be banned—and publicly listed on Facebook’s “Your Info” page, where you’ll be able to find out if you or any of your friends ever installed them.
“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,” wrote Archibong. “We are investing heavily to make sure this investigation is as thorough and timely as possible. We will keep you updated on our progress.”