Facebook suspends tens of thousands of apps

  Facebook on smartphone Copyright copyright
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The apps were associated with around 400 developers

Facebook says it has suspended tens of thousands of apps as part of an investigation it launched in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal.

The suspended apps were connected to about 400 developers, it says.

Facebook said that not all apps posed a threat to users.

The company came under great pressure in 201[ads1]8 after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had access to many users' data without permission.

The political consulting firm is alleged to have used this data – harvested by a personality quiz – to target political advertising.

Facebook was fined $ 5 billion in July by the US Federal Trade Commission, in what is believed to be the largest fine ever imposed on any company for violating consumer privacy.

Why do apps suspend apps?

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, involving data from tens of millions of people, was hugely damaging to Facebook, and the company has since faced lawsuits and international criticism.

It is now seeking to improve privacy and image protection measures.

  • Facebook tightens rules among 2020 election fright
  • Facebook fined £ 500,000 for data scandal

As part of this, in March, Facebook launched an investigation of apps on its platform, with hundreds of lawyers, computer scientists and engineers.

"Our review helps us better understand the patterns of abuse in eradicating bad actors among developers," the company's vice president of product collaboration, Ime Archibong, said in a statement Friday.

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Media caption How the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal played out

What do we know about the apps?

Facebook has released little specific information about tens of thousands of apps or hundreds of developers in question.

The statement said that the suspension of the apps was not necessarily an indication that they posed a threat to humans.

"Many were not alive, but were still in the testing phase when we suspended them," Archibong said.

In some cases, developers were subjected to in-depth questioning after being flagged.

Some apps were banned completely for reasons including inappropriate sharing of data obtained from Facebook or making data publicly available without protecting people's identity.

A banned app called myPersonality was found to share information with researchers and companies with only limited protection in place, and then refused to participate in an audit, according to Facebook.

The app review is ongoing.

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