Facebook Suspends 200 Apps That May Have Misused Users’ Data

The platform’s internal audit has uncovered scores of programs that operated with broad access.

Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Facebook announced Monday that 200 apps have been suspended from its service as part of its review of how third parties use Facebook users’ personal information. The suspensions come as Facebook wades through thousands of programs designed for its platform in the wake of revelations that Cambridge Analytica improperly used apps to acquired Facebook user data.

“To date thousands of apps have been investigated and around 200 have been suspended—pending a thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data,” Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships, wrote in a statement posted by the company. “There is a lot more work to be done to find all the apps that may have misused people’s Facebook data—and it will take time. We are investing heavily to make sure this investigation is as thorough and timely as possible.”

While Facebook did not identify the banned apps, or how many users were affected by them, it has promoted a webpage to notify users who may have been impacted. The page was originally launched to communicate with users whose data was eventually passed on to Cambridge Analytica through a quiz called “This Is Your Digital Life.” The quiz, designed by Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge University researcher, encouraged Facebook users to enter data about how their digital presence corresponded to personality traits. Only 270,000 people entered their data into Kogan’s quiz but it was programmed in such a way that it was able to get data on 87 million Facebook users. The information was acquired by Cambridge Analytica to use for political targeting and messaging in a manner that Facebook says violated its terms of service.

Revelations about Cambridge’s actions on the platform embroiled Facebook in controversy, forcing company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to endure congressional hearings. Lawmakers in the UK have also are demanding he sit for hearings.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate