Facebook suspends tens of thousands of apps after Cambridge Analytica investigation

Facebook has shut down 10,000 apps as part of its App Developer Investigation, which it started last year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The suspension is based on ‘various reasons’.

In the App Developer Investigation, Facebook says it has examined millions of apps, of which tens of thousands have been made inactive. The company does not report exactly how many apps are involved and why the apps have been suspended, but Facebook does claim that there are only about four hundred developers behind it. It also concerns many apps that have never been live and in many cases apps have been suspended because the developer did not respond to the request for more information.

Facebook is testing apps for the potential to be abusive, and concerns are raised with an investigation into the developer and a technical analysis of activity on the platform. Removal from Facebook may eventually follow, but exactly how often that happened is also unclear. The company speaks of ‘a few times’. Those apps would have been guilty of policy violation, inappropriate sharing of Facebook data and making data available without properly protecting the identity of individuals.

Facebook is the only example of a banned app citing ‘myPersonality’, which shared data with researchers and companies, offered too little protection and refused to cooperate with an audit. Furthermore, Facebook mentions taking legal action against the apps Rankwave, LionMobi and JediMobi, because they crossed the line.

Facebook began vetting apps with its App Developer Investigation in March 2018 after the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica was rounding out user data on a large scale. In May last year, the company had suspended 200 apps, by August that had risen to 400.