Last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to affect Facebook’s reputation, and the company continues to struggle with its consequences. Let me remind you that then an information leak was discovered by 87 million people whose data ended up at the disposal of third-party companies that misused them. Since the main vector of Cambridge Analytica's work was algorithms for analyzing the political preferences of voters, the data of users of the social network, in particular, were used during dozens of election campaigns in different countries of the world.
Last spring, Facebook engineers radically revised their approach to applications and began to monitor how much user data fell into the hands of developers, and also began to detect and stop abuses. So, in April 2018, the bug bounty program Facebook was updated, and people who find the so-called data abuse in a third-party application can receive a reward of up to $ 40,000 for this. And in May 2018, the social network reported on blocking the first several hundred applications that did not meet the new standards.
Now, a year and a half after these events, Facebook Vice President Ime Archibong reportedthat the company is still actively combating data abuse and has already suspended or blocked tens of thousands of applications created by more than 400 developers. The bans were related to the provision of data received from Facebook to third parties, the publication of data without proper protection of user identities, and other obvious violations of social network policies.
Archibong emphasized that not all of these applications posed a threat to users: some were just at the testing stage, and developers of other applications simply did not respond to Facebook requests on time.
Of the many thousands of violations identified, the vice president of Facebook identified a few separately. So, it’s reported that the application myPersonality shared user data with researchers and companies, and its developers refused to participate in the audit when Facebook tried to contact them.
In addition, the social network has filed a series of lawsuits against developers. For example, they sued South Korean company RankWave, who also refused to participate in the investigation and conduct an audit; on company LionMobi and JediMobi for advertising fraud; as well as a lawsuit was filed against two citizens of Ukraine, for the creation of quiz applications that quietly stole user data.
“We got rid of several API channels that developers use to access various types of data. We have enlarged our teams dedicated to investigating and protecting against intruders. This will allow us to check every active application with access to user information every year. And having discovered the violators, we will take a number of coercive measures, ”Archibong writes.