Facebook Suspends ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Apps for Improper Access to User Data

Sean Burch

Facebook has suspended “tens of thousands” of apps for improperly harvesting user data, the company revealed on Friday.

Few other details were shared by Facebook in its blog post on the matter. The company did not mention what kind of information these apps had lifted or how many users were impacted.

Facebook did not immediately respond for TheWrap’s request for comment.

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About 400 developers were connected to the apps that were deleted, according to the blog post.

The suspensions stem from an ongoing investigation into the Cambridge Analytica data leak, which rocked the company in 2018. Facebook later admitted up to 87 million users had their profiles unwittingly accessed by the political consulting firm. Cambridge Analytica paid University of Cambridge professor Aleksandr Kogan for data on the personality makeup of millions of Facebook users leading up to the 2014 midterm elections; Cambridge Analytica was later contracted by the Trump campaign in 2016 to help target potential voters  — pulling in $15 million in the process. Facebook reached a record $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission this summer over several data privacy issues.

The blog post from Facebook may have been a preemptive measure; The New York Times reported on Friday the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has been “working to unseal documents related to the investigation of the apps.” Facebook petitioned a Boston judge last month to keep the records sealed, but the documents are expected to be shared next week.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has spent several days this week in Washington, D.C. meeting with politicians, including President Trump, as he looks to assuage  concerns over the company’s business practices and handling of user data.

Facebook’s stock was down about 0.5% during midday trading.

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