Facebook announced earlier today that it has suspended approximately 200 apps for the possible misuse of user data. Although the apps have not been named, they are pending a more thorough investigation.
According to a blog post the company shared earlier today, this serves as an update on the ongoing investigation Facebook launched months ago in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica (Which has now shuttered its doors) scandal.
Ime Archibong, Facebook's vice president of product partnerships, said in Monday's post that the company will ban any app found to have misused data. He said Facebook would notify users about such bans and make it possible for them to check whether their data was misused.
"We are investing heavily to make sure this investigation is as thorough and timely as possible," Archibong said.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the first phase of the investigation to begin on March 21. The social network will be investigating all apps that had access to large amounts of information because data access was reduced in 2014.
The investigation process will be continuing into the future as Facebook works to reinstitute trust in the public and media spheres whilst simultaneously rebranding and launching features and policies that would restrict access publishers would have to consumer data while giving users the opportunity to better control what information Facebook’s network uses from 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,” Archibong said.
The investigation is broken into two phases. First, the company will perform a comprehensive survey to identify every app that had access to an amount of data equivalent to the quiz app used by Cambridge Analytica. Second, once concerns have been identified, Facebook will conduct interviews, make requests for information,, and perform audits as needed.
Cambridge Analytica, a marketing analytics firm based out of the United Kingdom, had harvested information on about 87 million users without their knowledge. Data was collected via a personal test quiz app developed by University of Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan. In addition to whatever data the user offered during the quiz, the app also requested permission to collect data on location, friends, and content that was favored by the user.
In a wave of investigating reporting and a Senate hearing in the months since the scandal first dropped, it was uncovered that Kogan had provided the data to Cambridge Analytica—a breach of Facebook’s rules. The social network allegedly requested the marketing firm to delete the data in 2015 but later learning in March that this had not happened.
Cambridge Analytica was instrumental in forming and advising the 2016 election campaign of President Donald Trump. The events have since sparked controversial discussions over the power giant tech companies have over consumers and how their services shape the way we communicate and how society functions.
Have the recent events rocking Facebook altered how you use their service? Do you find yourself using it less, or being more careful with what data you submit? If so, please let us know down in the comments!