Just at the times when the Cambridge Analytica scandal, is much in vogue these days, Facebook has further set limits it would be placing on apps that have already gained access to the account. So, from now onwards, developers would be receiving less information in the first place and also would be cut off from access when people stop using their app and would need Facebook’s approval to get access over more detailed information.
By default, developers using Facebook Login would now receive only a user’s name, profile photo, and email address when someone signs in through Facebook. Further added information, such as their Facebook posts, would require the developer to receive permission from Facebook. Right at this juncture, it’s also not clear how robust of a process this would be and in fact is also not clear if Facebook intends to run audits to ensure compliance with privacy measures. But this is definitely a good start for preventing user data from being needlessly spread around.
Additionally, with this, Facebook would also now, cut off apps’ access to an account’s data when that person hasn’t used the app for three months. Of course, this is quite a helpful change from a user’s perspective, as many people have finally realized that in the recent past, they’ve allowed hundreds, of apps to remain connected to their Facebook accounts, potentially collecting data.
No points for guessing but these changes have been declared by Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post, who until now has remained silent about the data scandal. Along with this, his post also states about additional steps Facebook plans to take to ensure that users are aware of what’s happening with their data. Within the next month, Facebook would be also placing a tool at the top of the News Feed that gives people a way to disable apps.
In fact, the company has also planned to “investigate all apps that had access to large amounts” in the past, to ensure nothing was abused, and to depict to the users if it’s discovered that their data was mishandled.
For this, Facebook added that it would have to look for a “suspicious activity” among the companies it investigates and “conduct a full audit” of them. Now, if they decline the audit, they would be banned from Facebook. Developers that misused “personally identifiable information” would also be banned. The investigation applied to developers who were on the platform during or before 2014 when Facebook made a change that limited how much data they had access to. At that time, developers could access data from a user’s friends, even though their friends may not have granted the app access. This is how, Cambridge Analytica was able to obtain information on 50 million accounts, despite starting with fewer than 300,000 users.
Lastly, Facebook added that additional changes would be announced in the “coming weeks,” and that it intends to accelerate other data protection efforts it was already working on. Some of those were also in response to forthcoming data protection rules in the European Union.