Facebook has suspended roughly 200 apps suspected of misusing data they have gathered on the social media site, a vice president at the company said on Monday.
The company has investigated “thousands of apps” and “around 200 have been suspended,” Ime Archibong, vice president of Product Partnerships at Facebook, wrote in a blog post.
Facebook’s next step is to conduct a “thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data” and will delete any app that did.
The announcement comes after Facebook was hit with a privacy scandal revealing it had collected users’ data to build profiles on American voters that was used in both former-President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Mark Zuckerberg announced on March 21 Facebook’s plans for this two-phase investigation into all the apps that had access to large amounts of users’ information before it changed its platform policies in 2014.
“In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who shared their data as well as some of their friends’ data,” Zuckerberg said. This gave Cambridge access to tens of millions of voters’ data. In 2014, Facebook changed its policies to block apps from acquiring users’ friends’ data unless their friends had independently authorized the app.
“The investigation process is in full swing,” Archibong said.
The first phase in the investigation is a comprehensive review to identify every app that had access to a large amounts of users’ Facebook data. The second phase is to conduct interviews, make requests for information by asking “a series of detailed questions about the app and the data it has access to,” and perform an audit that may include an on-site inspection.
Facebook “will ban any developer from our platform [who] does not agree to a thorough audit. And if we find developers [who] misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps.” Zuckerberg said.
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