Facebook Suspends 200 Apps Over Mishandled User Data

Facebook is suspending about 200 apps it believes may have misused data

"It is disappointing that a company with the resources of Facebook chooses not to provide a sufficient level of detail and transparency on various points including on Cambridge Analytica, dark ads, Facebook Connect, the amount spent by Russian Federation on United Kingdom ads on the platform, data collection across the web, budgets for investigations, and that shows general discrepancies between Schroepfer and Zuckerberg's respective testimonies", said chair of the committee Damian Collins MP. Apparently someone working for the app shared some of the code on GitHub, and put working login credentials in the code as well that allowed access to the database, for four years. The data was only supposed to be accessible through an approved research platform, but has since been discovered on a website with little to no protection.

Unfortunately, it appears there may have been others, as the audit has uncovered another 200 Cambridge Analytica-type apps out there.

Also, Schroepfer revealed that nobody at Facebook had read the terms and conditions of Aleksandr Kogan's "This Is Your Digital Life" app, which may have taken up to 87 million users personal information, according to Facebook.

Facebook's response to the story has led to a promised investigation into the myPersonality quiz and associated apps.

Over 280 people from almost 150 institutions eventually gained access to the full data set by registering as a collaborator to the project.

But these 280 people or collaborators weren't alone in having access to data of almost 3 million users.

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Anyone who wanted access to the data set could have found the key to download it in less than a minute.
However, their request was turned down by the myPersonality app team in 2013 because of the company's political ambitions.

"And second, where we have concerns, we will conduct interviews, make requests for information (RFI) - which ask a series of detailed questions about the app and the data it has access to - and perform audits that may include on-site inspections", Ime Archibong, Vice President of Product Partnerships at Facebook, said in a blog post.

In the case of this new data scandal, the "myPersonality" quiz was used to collect various pieces of information about users who took part in a psychologyquiz on Facebook.

For one, what criteria did Facebook use to decide if an app should be suspended?

Experts are anxious that the researchers didn't do enough to anonymize the data, as well. "The use of the data can't be at the expense of people's privacy".

The investigation, which Archibong says is "in full swing", has covered thousands of apps so far (no word on how many apps Facebook has left to scrutinize).

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