Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday addressed the Cambridge Analytica scandal, wherein that company used data acquired from Facebook via a third-party app to create targeted political advertisements during the 2016 presidential campaign.
This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.
Zuckerberg outlined the response Facebook will put in place to hopefully prevent this situation from happening again. Zuckerberg says Facebook will add a new tool at the top of the News Feed to allow users to view which apps they’ve used.
Apps used on Facebook gain access to a user’s personal data. The tool will allow users to see which apps have access to their personal info, and will offer an easy way to revoke any permissions that have been granted. (The tool is already available, but is somewhat buried in the Settings menu.)
Facebook in 2014 made changes that reduced the amount of data apps could access, the company says it will now investigate the apps that had access to users’ personal data pre-2014, which is where the Cambridge Analytica data came from.
First, we will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014, and we will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity. We will ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit. And if we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps. That includes people whose data Kogan misused here as well.
Second, we will restrict developers’ data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse. For example, we will remove developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in 3 months. We will reduce the data you give an app when you sign in — to only your name, profile photo, and email address. We’ll require developers to not only get approval but also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data. And we’ll have more changes to share in the next few days.
Third, we want to make sure you understand which apps you’ve allowed to access your data. In the next month, we will show everyone a tool at the top of your News Feed with the apps you’ve used and an easy way to revoke those apps’ permissions to your data. We already have a tool to do this in your privacy settings, and now we will put this tool at the top of your News Feed to make sure everyone sees it.
Zuckerberg claims his company will remove developers’ access to data if an app hasn’t been used in three months. The amount of data made accessible to an app will be restricted to name, profile photo, and email address. Access to other data, including posts, will require explicit approval from the user.
The recent scandal has spurred a “Delete Facebook” campaign by users concerned over how much data Facebook collects, and how it is used. If you’re interested in doing so, you can find out how to permanently delete your Facebook account at this link. However, those considering doing so, may want to download an archive of their Facebook content. Find out how to do that at this link.