In the wake of 2018’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, social media giant Facebook has finally decided to pull the plug on third-party apps that collect an enormous amount of data on its users. Hence, Facebook will no longer allow third-party apps with ‘minimal utility’ to operate on its platform. For example, apps like personality quizzes will cease to exist on Facebook going forward.
Facebook has a valid reason to be wary of these third-party apps collecting a massive amount of data on users. Personal data collected on users via a personality quiz app was, in fact, the driving force behind the entire Cambridge Analytica controversy last year. The move, however, comes more than a year after the controversy erupted in March 2018.
The Cambridge Analytica data scandal involved data harvesting of more than 80 million users and the data was later used to meddle with the 2016 US presidential election campaign, without users’ consent.
Facebook also clarifies third-party apps may not ask for data that doesn't enrich the in-app, user experience. Commenting on this move, here’s what Facebook’s product management director Eddie O'Neil, had to say in his official blog post:
“As part of our ongoing commitments to privacy and security, we are making updates to our platform. These updates include removing access to a number of APIs, updating our platform policies, and regularly evaluating an app's access to user permissions.”
Facebook said in its blog post all the existing apps using these APIs will no longer have access as of July 30, 2019, whereas new apps will not have access to these APIs as of April 30, 2019.
Previously approved user permissions that apps have not accessed in the last three months 90 days shall be considered expired and Facebook will revoke access to expired permissions. Facebook said it will keep a check on permissions that apps have not used and developers can submit for App Review if they wish to regain access to expired permissions.
In December, Facebook came under fire after a report made some shocking revelations that Facebook allowed more than 150 companies including Netflix and Spotify to access certain user data including their private messages.