On Thursday, the social networking giant updated its platform policies to say that apps with minimal utility, such as personality quizzes, will no longer be allowed. The update also states that apps can no longer ask for user data that doesnt enrich the in-app or user experience.
The announcement comes the same day Canadas federal privacy watchdog announced plans to take Facebook to court following an investigation into the platforms privacy practices following the Cambridge Analytica scandal last spring.
Facebook is cracking down on personality quizzes that reveal too much info
The investigation was prompted by reports that a third-party app called This is Your Digital Life (TYDL), which encouraged users to complete a personality quiz, collected personal information from users and their network of Facebook friends.
The data was later used by Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of being involved with U.S. political campaigns.
More than 620,000 Canadians had their data improperly shared in the scandal, which affected 87 million users worldwide.
A Facebook spokesperson told CTVNews.ca the updates to the social networks platform policies are not related to the federal privacy commissioners investigation.
The ban on personality quizzes is part of a larger effort to limit what user information developers have access to in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
In this March 29, 2018, file photo the logo for social media giant Facebook, appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New Yorks Times Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Facebook is cracking down on third-party apps that slurp up massive amounts of user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The company said in a blog post that it will no longer allow apps with minimal utility, like personality quizzes, to operate on the platform.
It comes more than a year after the Cambridge Analytica row first erupted last March, wherein some 87 million users data was harvested and shared with the Trump-affiliated campaign research firm without their consent.
Facebook is cracking down on third-party apps. The company said in a blog post that it will no longer allow apps with minimal utility, like personality quizzes, to operate on the platform
As part of our ongoing commitments to privacy and security, we are making updates to our platform, Eddie ONeil, head of platform at Facebook, said in the post.
…Our Facebook Platform Policies are being updated to include provisions that apps with minimal utility, such as personality quizzes, may not be permitted on the platform.
The update also clarifies that apps may not ask for data that doesnt enrich the in-app, user experience, he added.
Tens of millions of users data was harvested by the quiz app thisisyourdigitallife, then purchased by Cambridge Analytica, so that it could create psychological profiles of American voters for political campaigns.
However, as The Verge pointed out, the problem didnt entirely stem from quiz apps, but rather Facebooks lax policies around user data management and how developers were able to harvest information from friends of friends.
As part of Thursdays update, Facebook is also starting to enforce previously announced developer controls.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill in April 2018. He appeared in front of legislators following the eruption of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which 87 million users data was exploited
Now, Facebook will prevent developers from accessing user data if it detects that a user hasnt opened the app in the past 90 days.
Going forward, we will periodically review, audit and remove permissions that your app has not sued, ONeill stated.
It comes as Facebook on Wednesday disclosed that it expects to take on a one-time charge between $3 billion and $5 billion related to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
Last March, the FTC opened an investigation into Facebooks data dealings after the Cambridge Analytica scandal first erupted.
December 2018: Facebook comes under fire after a bombshell report discovered the firm allowed over 150 companies, including Netflix, Spotify and Bing, to access unprecedented amounts of user data, such as private messages.
Some of these partners had the ability to read, write, and delete Facebook users private messages and to see all participants on a thread.
It also allowed Microsofts search engine, known as Bing, to see the name of all Facebook users friends without their consent.
Amazon was allowed to obtain users names and contact information through their friends, and Yahoo could view streams of friends posts.
As of last year, Sony, Microsoft, and Amazon could all obtain users email addresses through their friends.
September 2018: Facebook disclosed that it had been hit by its worst ever data breach, affecting 50 million users – including those of Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Attackers exploited the sites View As feature, which lets people see what their profiles look like to other users.
Facebook says it has found no evidence so far that hackers broke into third-party apps after a data breach exposed 50 million users (stock image)
The unknown attackers took advantage of a feature in the code called Access Tokens, to take over peoples accounts, potentially giving hackers access to private messages, photos and posts – although Facebook said there was no evidence that had been done.
The hackers also tried to harvest peoples private information, including name, sex and hometown, from Facebooks systems.
Facebook said it doesnt yet know if information from the affected accounts has been misused or accessed, and is working with the FBI to conduct further investigations.
As a result of the breach, the firm logged roughly 90 million people out of their accounts earlier today as a security measure.
March 2018: Facebook made headlines earlier this year after the data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy.
The disclosure has prompted government inquiries into the companys privacy practices across the world, and fueled a #deleteFacebook movement among consumers.
Communications firm Cambridge Analytica had offices in London, New York, Washington, as well as Brazil and Malaysia.
The company boasts it can find your voters and move them to action through data-driven campaigns and a team that includes data scientists and behavioural psychologists.
Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections, with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claims on its website.
The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix (pictured), after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump
This meant the company was able to mine the information of 87 million Facebook users even though just 270,000 people gave them permission to do so.
This was designed to help them create software that can predict and influence voters choices at the ballot box.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump.