Facebook suspends 200 apps, review underway investigating data misuse

Facebook has suspended 200 apps on its platform following an investigation to which ones had access to large amounts of information. This applied to apps affected by its 2014 platform policy change, which reduced the amount of data the apps could access. The Facebook announcement, however, did not disclose which apps were suspended.

In a blog post, the social media giant added that the 200 apps suspended are still pending a thorough review on whether or not it had in fact misused any data. If found to be the case, Facebook added it would ban the apps and notify users via its website which allows users to find out if they had installed an app that misused data before 2015. This was a similar measure it took for Cambridge Analytica.

The blog post is an update on its investigation and audit from Facebook, which was promised by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It added that the investigation process is “in full swing” and consists of two phases.

This includes a comprehensive review to identify every app that had access to this amount of Facebook data. Next is the conducting of interviews wherever there are concerns, make requests for information (RFI). The RFI asks a series of detailed questions about the app and the data it has access to — and perform audits that may include on-site inspections, the post added.

Facebook added that it has large teams of internal and external experts working hard to investigate these apps as quickly as possible.

“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. We are investing heavily to make sure this investigation is as thorough and timely as possible. We will keep you updated on our progress,” the post added.

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal caused it to lose US$60 billlion off its market cap, and also saw CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologising in US congress for the mistake.

Closer to home, potentially 65,009 users in Singapore were found to be at risk of having their information improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. This was revealed by Facebook, which also confirmed that 1,096,666 accounts in Indonesia were at risk as well, making it the third most affected country. Figures for Malaysia however, were not available.

Despite the scandal, advertisers are still continuing to spend on the digital media platform, with the greatest quarter-over-quarter media spend increase coming from travel (129%) and legal/financial (32%) sectors.

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