Facebook suspends approval of new third-party apps

Facebook mobile app

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook has temporarily suspended approval of new third-party apps. It announced the news on its developer blog, providing an overall update on the measures it's taking "to maintain the trust people place in Facebook".

The data used by Cambridge Analytica was gathered using a personality testing app called thisisyourdigitallife. The app not only collected information about the person who took the test, but also about their friends, who hadn't consented to it. Facebook put an end to that practice in 2014, but Cambridge Analytica kept the data it had gathered and continued to use it to provide targeted advertising.

The decision to suspend approval of new apps comes a week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg set out a plan to take better care of users' data in future, and hunt down any other third parties behaving in a similar way.

"We are doing a set of things to restrict the amount of access that developers can get going forward, but the other [thing] is that we need to make sure that there aren't any other Cambridge Analyticas out there, or folks who have improperly accessed data," Zuckerberg said.

Ads will become less targeted

Facebook has also permanently shut down Partner Categories – a scheme that let advertisers target their ads more precisely by supplementing their own data with information from third-party brokers that collect information about consumers from offline sources like supermarket loyalty cards.

Cambridge Analytica wasn't involved in Partner Categories, but this is a sign that Facebook is taking a broad look at how it handles users' data more generally.

Via the Verge