At the weekend Facebook provided an update for those following its ongoing investigation into the apps on its platform.
This investigation was of course brought about by the Cambridge Analytica scandal that breached the surface in March 2018. In lieu of that incident Facebook has been scrutinising the applications developed for its platform.
“We initially identified apps for investigation based on how many users they had and how much data they could access. Now, we also identify apps based on signals associated with an app’s potential to abuse our policies,” explained vice president of product partnerships at Facebook, Ime Archibong.
“Depending on the results, a range of actions could be taken from requiring developers to submit to in-depth questioning, to conducting inspections or banning an app from the platform,” Archibong said.
To date Facebook has looked at millions of applications on its platform and suspended “tens of thousands” as it investigates them.
There have been a few cases where Facebook has had to ban an app from its platform completely. The reasons for a ban range from inappropriate data sharing to violating Facebook’s terms and conditions. With that having been said, Facebook says it has found no evidence of data misuse other than what it has already notified authorities about.
Of course, it’s worth remembering that Facebook is not doing this of its own volition. You may recall the social network was ordered to pay a $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission for its woeful privacy practices.
In addition to the fine Facebook has to have greater oversight over app developers and you may see fewer “What Game of Thrones prop are you” type quizzes on Facebook in the future.
“We have also developed new rules to more strictly control a developer’s access to user data. Apps that provide minimal utility for users, like personality quizzes, may not be allowed on Facebook. Apps may not request a person’s data unless the developer uses it to meaningfully improve the quality of a person’s experience. They must also clearly demonstrate to people how their data would be used to provide them that experience,” explained Archibong.
The social network says that it is constantly learning from last year’s incident and working to ensure it doesn’t happen again.