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Facebook is cracking down on ‘apps with minimal utility’

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It’s been over a year since the Cambridge Analytica scandal hit Facebook, and the social media giant is definitely trying to do whatever it can to safeguard user information, announcing a new set of platform policies that developers will need to follow. 

Under the new changes, frivolous apps like personality quizzes will receive more scrutiny before being allowed to go live on the platform, with Facebook’s product management director Eddie O’Neil stating that apps like personality quizzes “may not be permitted on the platform”.

Facebook has also published a list of APIs that will be removed from the platform. New apps will lose access to those APIs on April 30, while existing apps that utilize those APIs won’t be able to access them starting June 30.

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If you recall, it was through a quiz app that data firm Cambridge Analytica was able to get their hands on information of over 87 million users without permission. While these apps aren’t the problem themselves, the issue then was that Facebook let them collect user information for years without enforcing privacy policies.

While Facebook has promised to take a closer look at personality quizzes and the like, the company hasn’t elaborated on the criteria it will use to examine these apps. All we know for now is that apps won’t be allowed to collect user data if that information “doesn’t enrich in-app experience”.

Moreover, any app that does not use its data access permissions within 90 days will have its privileges revoked. 

Facebook will also run periodic reviews and audits of apps and, if necessary, remove expired permissions.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (yes, she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing cameras and lenses, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She also contributes to Digital Camera World and T3, and helps produce two of Future's photography print magazines in Australia.