Facebook blocks ‘hundreds of thousands’ of privacy-invading apps

Facebook has blocked a massive number of apps from accessing its data as a part of a new review process formed in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.

The social media platform, which had previously allowed developers relatively easy access to the voluminous data generated by Facebook’s 2.2 billion monthly active users, announced it was strengthening its app review process in May and gave developers a deadline of August 1 to submit to it.

“We are cutting off API access for hundreds of thousands of inactive apps that have not submitted for our app review process,” said Ime Archibong, Facebook’s VP of Product Partnerships, in a blog post.

The new review process requires app developers to justify that their business app needs certain API permissions. Developers building apps for other businesses would have to sign new contracts and agree to how the data would be used.

However, developers that missed the deadline can still submit for review, at this point.

“Where we need more information, developers will have a limited amount of time to respond. If we don’t hear back within that timeframe, we will remove the app’s access to APIs that require approval,” Archibong adds.

Facebook’s announcement came on the same day the company said it removed 32 accounts, possibly linked to Russia, that were attempting to disrupt US politics in advance of the midterm elections.

Twitter removed more than 143,000 apps from April to June of this year, which is in addition to the 142,000 apps that it revoked API access for in its first-quarter letter to shareholders.

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