Facebook’s Suspension of ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Apps Reveals Wider Privacy Issues

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook indicated on Friday that the scale of its data privacy issues was far larger than it had previously acknowledged, as it suspended tens of thousands of apps for transgressions that included improperly sucking up its users’ personal information.

The social network said in a blog post that an investigation it began in March 2018 — following revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a British consultancy, had improperly retrieved and used people’s Facebook information without their permission — had resulted in the suspension of “tens of thousands” of apps that were associated with about 400 developers. That was far bigger than the last number that Facebook had disclosed of 400 app suspensions in August 2018.
The extent of how many apps Facebook had cut off was revealed in court filings that were unsealed later on Friday by a state court in Boston, as part of an investigation by the Massachusetts attorney general into the technology company. The documents showed that Facebook had suspended 69,000 apps. Of those, the majority were terminated because the developers did not cooperate with Facebook’s investigation; 10,000 were flagged for potentially misappropriating personal data from Facebook users.Facebook apps can take on a variety of forms, from music apps like Spotify to games like Candy Crush. Some apps use Facebook simply so that people can log in to their service or product, which otherwise has nothing to do with the social network. The common denominator is that these apps want access to information about Facebook members so that they can add new users.

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