Facebook has investigated thousands of web apps created for its platform over user data misuse allegations and banned some 200 of them due to such transgressions so far, the company's Vice President of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong said Monday. All sanctions issued so far are technically suspensions and are pending a more thorough investigation into what kind of privacy or developer policy violations their creators committed, though the majority of them are likely to stand.
The app probe that Facebook is now conducting across its entire ecosystem was promised by Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg in late March after the Cambridge Analytica scandal was first reported about. Following the revelation that up to 87 million users had their data harvested by an online personality quiz that most of them never accessed in the summer of 2014, Mr. Zuckerberg ended up enduring nearly ten hours of congressional hearings in the United States and is still being pressured to submit himself to another grilling in the United Kingdom. The comprehensive probe into potential data misusers is just one of the steps Facebook is taking to improve the overall privacy of people relying on its platform, with the firm presently also working on ways to limit the level of data access Facebook app developers are granted.
The Menlo Park, California-based company hasn't attached a timeline to its efforts on the privacy front, some of which may take years to be completed, but has repeatedly vowed to maintain transparency and keep the public updated about its progress, with Mr. Archibong reiterating that promise earlier today. The Cambridge Analytica episode backlash is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the tech industry as a whole, especially in the United States where lawmakers are presently discussing ways in which digital giants could be compelled to treat the sensitive data of their users and consumers in a more responsible manner. Facebook is now attempting to spearhead a self-regulation push, though it remains to be seen how successful it's going to be in its latest endeavor.