Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Facebook cuts off user data access for hundreds of thousands of apps


Facebook is cutting off the Application Programming Interface (API) access for apps. No, not all apps. The company is revoking access for the “hundreds of thousands” of inactive apps that have not submitted for its new app review process. After the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal came into light, Facebook announced that current apps on its platform will need to go through a more stringent review process to ensure that they adhere to the company’s rules and guidelines of how a user’s data is to be handled.  

This announcement came back in May during the company’s F8 Developer conference and at the event, the company set August 1 as the deadline for businesses and developers to submit their apps again for review under the new guidelines. Facebook says that the apps which are still in use but have not applied for being reviewed under the new process should do so now. 

It should be noted that all apps queued for the review will not lose their API access, as long as they comply with the platform's Policies. Facebook will be “proactively queueing up apps for review,” so that all apps undergo evaluation. Developers of these apps can be asked for more information, to which they have a limited amount of time to respond. In case one does not revert to the query within the stipulated time frame, the app’s access for the applied API will be removed. 

Ime Archibong, Facebook’s VP of product partnerships writes in a blog post, “We’d encourage apps that are still being used but have not been submitted for app review to do so now. However, to ensure all apps currently in use go through our review process, we will be proactively queueing up apps for review. 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.” Back in March, Facebook turned off user information access to any app that a user hasn’t used in the last three months. 

Then the company halted third-party apps from accessing sensitive data of users of a group and three months later announced that these apps are re-allowed to access user data in Groups. However, they need to go through a stricter human-reviewed approval process and will not have the access to the list of members and other sensitive data.

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