In the light of Facebook’s ongoing work to protect users’ data alongside preventing misuse of users’ information by App developers, came the last announcement on 22 August 2018, where Facebook reveals the launch of a new update to its App Investigation. It had banned “myPersonality” — an app that was mainly active prior to 2012 — from Facebook for failing to agree to its request to audit and because it’s clear that they shared information with researchers as well as companies with only limited protections in place, as reported by Facebook.
The ban of “myPersonality” app is considered to be the first ban since Cambridge Analytica. Yet the ban of “myPersonality” isn’t the only Facebook effort regarding the matter. In May, Facebook contacted all the developers and app makers worldwide who’re using Facebook API on their apps to submit for the app review process before August 1st, 2018. It launched this call during its F8 developer conference and explained that the Facebook’s app review process is a process that involves signing new contracts around user data collection and verifying one’s authenticity.
After that call, in August, Facebook announced that they had to cut off API access for hundreds of thousands of inactive apps that have not submitted for Facebook’s app review process, in addition to block more than 400 apps because of doubts around the developers who built those apps or how the information people chose to share with the app may have been used.
As explained by Facebook, at that time:
“Our goal with all these changes is to ensure that we better protect people’s Facebook information while also enabling developers to build great social experiences – like managing a group, planning a trip or getting concert tickets for your favorite band.”
Regarding banning “myPersonality” app, Facebook has to notify the roughly 4 million people who decided to share their Facebook information with myPersonality that it may have been misused, yet this Notification won’t extend to friends of those users, till Facebook have the evidence that myPersonality accessed any friends’ information.
In the same context, Facebook also pointed to its new policy that no information will be shared with apps if you haven’t used them in 90 days, that’s considered to be one of its attempts to control users’ information and prevent abuse and data misuse on its platform.
Finally, we should acknowledge Facebook efforts in improving the users’ ability to manage their data, including through downloading their Information, which is a way to access a secure copy of the data they’ve shared with Facebook. On a similar note, Facebook is participating in the Data Transfer Project with a number of online services providers to help their users move their data between any two online services providers.
Data Transfer Project (DTP) is a collaboration of organizations committed to building a common framework with open-source code that can connect any two online service providers, enabling a seamless, direct, user-initiated portability of data between the two platforms.