Facebook hailed action to protect users in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, stating it had since suspended tens of thousands of apps from its platform.

In a statement, Facebook said its App Developer Investigation had addressed “millions of apps”, citing “a variety of reasons” for their suspension. These included inappropriately sharing data obtained from the company; making data publicly available without protecting people’s identity; or “something else that was in clear violation of our policies”.

The social media giant explained the affected apps are associated with about 400 developers, but noted their suspension “is not necessarily an indication that the apps were posing a threat to people”. Many of the apps were still in their testing phase, for example, though the company noted it had banned some completely “in a few cases”.

Facebook said it will continue working with regulators and policymakers on the investigation and conduct annual reviews of every active app with access to more than basic user information.

Ongoing work
For the future, Facebook added it had developed stricter rules for controlling app developers’ access to user data and, as a result, apps providing only minimal utility for users may not be allowed on the platform.

The company will be able to suspend or revoke a developer’s access to any API not used for 90 days. It will also not allow apps which request a “disproportionate amount of information from users relative to the value they provide”.

“We won’t catch everything and some of what we do catch will be with help from others outside Facebook. Our goal is to bring problems to light so we can address them quickly,” Facebook added.

The company commenced its investigation in March 2018 after revelations the data of at least 50 million of its users was obtained and misused by UK-based political consulting company Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook was fined $5 billion by the US Federal Trade Commission for the breach.