Facebook just banned an app it suspects of abusing access to the personal data of roughly 4 million users.
The quiz app in question -- myPersonality -- was “mainly active” prior to 2012, according to Ime Archibong, vice president, product partnerships at Facebook.
“It’s clear that they shared information with researchers, as well as companies with only limited protections in place,” Archibong notes in a new blog post.
That’s essentially how Cambridge Analytica gained access to the personal information of millions of Facebook users, which resulted in the biggest scandal in the company’s history.
As part of a broader effort to prevent another Cambridge Analytica-type scandal, Archibong said Facebook has suspended about 400 apps since March. That’s roughly double the 200 apps that the social giant said it had suspected in May.
In general, apps are suspended due to concerns about the developers that build them, said Archibong.
Specifically, Facebook singles out an app when it becomes uneasy about “how the information people chose to share with [them] may have been used,” he said.
As outlined earlier this year, Facebook has focused its investigation on apps that had access to large amounts of user information prior to 2014. That was the year the company made changes to its platform policies, which it believes made data abuses far less likely.
Facebook is in the process of notifying the approximately 4 million users who shared their information with myPersonality.
Because Facebook has no evidence that myPersonality accessed the information of users’ friends, it is not notifying them.
Beginning in March, Facebook’s investigation was broken into two phases. First, a “comprehensive” review was conducted to identify every app that had access to large amounts of Facebook data.
Second, where Facebook had concerns, it conducted interviews and made requests for information, which included a series of detailed questions about the app and the data to which is had access.
If and when Facebook deems it necessary, it conducts audits that may include on-site inspections.