Facebook banned yet another app for compromising the privacy of its users and refusing to cooperate in a subsequent investigation of the matter, the company said Wednesday. The service in question is myPersonality, an online quiz with a Facebook login that harvested data on millions of individuals and had it publicly accessible for years with minimal checks meant to prevent abuse. While only a single leak was recorded during the nine years of the project's existence, Facebook said it's "clear" select Cambridge University academics shared the mined information with a wide variety of entities.
The people behind the project are not associated with Cambridge Analytica, the company in the center of Facebook's largest privacy scandal of the year, although Aleksandr Kogan, the researcher involved in that debacle, was also given access to myPersonality's data after requesting it, together with thousands of other data scientists and entities. The app's creators refused Facebook's audit request, with the company consequently opting to permanently ban the quiz. While the original report on the matter estimated some three million users have been compromised by the app, Facebook now believes roughly four million were affected and will be notifying them about the development. The social media giant currently doesn't have any evidence that the myPersonality team accessed data on any Facebook friends of users who signed up for the app.
The Menlo Park, California-based firm also provided an update on its aggressive app investigation efforts started following the Cambridge Analytica ordeal, revealing it banned over 400 apps for privacy violations to date, twice as much as it reported three months ago. Facebook's probe continues on the back of policy changes it introduced earlier this year with the goal of combating third-party data abuse within its ecosystem, including automatic timeouts for data-sharing privileges that revoke information access to apps that haven't been used in three months.