Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on March 21 that the company would conduct an audit to identify suspicious applications that may have exploited user data.
So far, 200 applications have been detected and removed, but their names haven’t been made public yet. Users whose data has been misused will be immediately notified by Facebook. However, this casts doubt over the company’s ability to properly secure users’ information and right to privacy.
“To date thousands of apps have been investigated and around 200 have been suspended — pending a thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data,” reads an update written by Ime Archibong, VP of Product Partnerships. “Where we find evidence that these or other apps did misuse data, we will ban them and notify people via this website. It will show people if they or their friends installed an app that misused data before 2015 — just as we did for Cambridge Analytica.”
The main problem is that Facebook’s business model has always been based on sharing user data with applications and the sudden change of heart might not necessarily fix much because once the information leaves their servers, they lose control over it.
“The investigation process is in full swing, and it has two phases,” added Archibong. “First, a comprehensive review to identify every app that had access to this amount of Facebook data. And second, where we have concerns, we will conduct interviews, make requests for information (RFI) — which ask a series of detailed questions about the app and the data it has access to — and perform audits that may include on-site inspections.”
Soon after Facebook announced partial results of its app audit, New Scientist reported that the personal data of over 3 million Facebook users collected through the Cambridge Analytica personality test had in fact been accessible to anyone for the past four years.