Facebook says it has suspended tens of thousands of third-party apps as part of its investigation into the misuse of users’ personal data.
In a staggeringly troublesome development, which will lead to more scrutiny of the scandal-hit social network, Facebook revealed a massive uptick in apps that have been struck off as a result of potential user data violations.
In a Newsroom post, the company says the apps from more than 400 developers have lost their privileges over suspicions they may be collecting large amounts of user data. Facebook says it has scanned millions of apps for data misuse overall, but the ‘tens of thousands’ figure is sure to anger privacy advocates and users alike.
The firm wouldn’t even get specific about the actual number it has suspended. Sceptics might say ‘tens of thousands’ is probably indicative of a figure closer to 99,999 than 20,000, say.
Today’s update is part of the ongoing investigation prompted by the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2017. The number of apps suspended from the platform has skyrocketed from the last official count, which was 400, as of August 2018.
In the blog post, the company explained that many of the apps had not been published and many were suspended for not responding to requests for information. It says the suspensions weren’t always an indication apps were a threat to users.
In a blog post, it goes on: “In a few cases, we have banned apps completely. That can happen for any number of reasons including inappropriately sharing data obtained from us, making data publicly available without protecting people’s identity or something else that was in clear violation of our policies.”
The company says it has not confirmed any more instances of data misuse other than those it has already gone public about. It says the investigation is ongoing and it is in regular contact with “regulators and policymakers.”
Today’s announcement is sure to boost calls for the company, and its social media counterparts to be subject to greater regulation.