Facebook has announced the suspension of over 200 apps for potentially using user data inappropriately. The suspension marks the first step by the social media platform to regain user trust after the massive data scandal involving UK data firm Cambridge Analytica. A statement released by Facebook reveals that thousands of apps on the platform have been investigated so far. 200 have already been suspended pending an additional thorough inquiry as to whether the apps actually abused user data against Facebook’s policy.
The past few months have been controversial for Facebook. Revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a UK data firm, had accessed and inappropriately used the data of over 87 million Facebook users for political purposes cast a shadow of doubt over the company’s ability to secure the privacy of its users. The company has since been dealing with a massive PR fall out as people threatened to delete their accounts. But the response so far has been quite robust.
Facebook confirmed last month that it had launched a new tool that allows users to know if their data had been collected and used by Cambridge Analytica. The social media company has also enacted a series of tougher privacy protection regulations in a bid to win back user trust. The crackdown on apps that may have inappropriately used user data is the latest move by the company.
According to Archibong, the investigations into these apps will be done in two phases. First, a general review of apps that have had access to large amounts of data will be done. Once these apps are identified, Facebook will then conduct a thorough audit and interviews with app developers and managers. The ultimate goal is to establish whether privacy rules on the social media platform were abused by these apps.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal was considered by many analysts as one of the lowest moments for Facebook. However, experts who have followed the company closely over the years say that Facebook has always been a little lax on privacy protection. As such, the data scandal didn’t come as a surprise. It seems though that the social media company has finally paid attention to the warning signs that have been there for years. In his testimony to Congress, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that his company was ready to work with lawmakers in order to develop a legal framework for privacy protection online. This was the first time that Zuckerberg appeared before Congress.