- Facebook on Friday said it had suspended tens of thousands of apps as part of an investigation started after last year's Cambridge Analytica scandal, per a Facebook blog post. The social network's announcement indicates that data-sharing among apps was more prevalent than suggested last year, when an internal audit led to the suspension of 400 apps.
- Facebook said the suspended apps had been created by about 400 developers, and the suspensions didn't necessarily indicate that the apps posed a threat to its users. "Many were not live but were still in their testing phase when we suspended them," Ime Archibong, VP of product partnerships, said in the blog post. Facebook's investigation into apps is ongoing.
- Massachusetts state court filings unsealed later on Friday as part of an investigation into Facebook showed that the company had suspended 69,000 apps, with most being terminated because the developers didn't cooperate with its investigation. Facebook flagged about 10,000 apps for possibly misappropriating personal data from Facebook users, The New York Times reported.
Facebook's suspension of apps indicates that the social network is working to follow through on its commitment to crack down on developers that violate its policies on data gathering, which were strengthened in April. The suspensions also indicate data privacy is still a significant issue for Facebook, which has personal information on more than 2.4 billion users worldwide. That data trove is highly valuable to mobile marketers, including software developers that seek to drive app downloads and to sell targeted in-app advertisements that have become a key source of revenue.
Facebook's move recalled several steps it has taken in the past year to crack down on app developers that violate its policies. Facebook last year banned an app called myPersonality for allegedly sharing information with researchers and companies and having limited privacy protections. In May, Facebook filed a lawsuit in California against Rankwave, a South Korean data analytics company that Facebook claims failed to cooperate with its investigation. Last month, Facebook filed an action against LionMobi and JediMobi, two companies that allegedly used apps to infect users' phones with malware in a profit-generating scheme, according to Facebook.
Facebook's data-sharing practices came to light last year after a whistleblower claimed that U.K. political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had used people's personal information without their permission. The firm used the data harvested from an online personality quiz to create voter profiles and to target ads for the Trump presidential campaign. Facebook in July reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over privacy violations, agreeing to pay a record $5 billion fine and to strengthen data controls.