When testifying before Congress, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was upfront about the fact that Cambridge Analytica was probably not the only company to abuse the social network’s policies and improperly obtain data about its users. An investigation would likely yield more incidents, and that’s what we are seeing now. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has suspended in the neighborhood of 200 apps that had access to a large amount of user data.
That’s not likely the final number, either. Those 200 app suspensions are the result of just the first stage of Facebook’s review process. There could be many more still to be discovered. On top of that, it’s not year clear the full extent of data misuse by the suspended apps.
“There is a lot more work to be done to find all the app that may have misused people’s Facebook data, and it will take taime,” said Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships. “We have large teams of internal and external experts working hard to investigate these apps as quickly as possible.”
In case you missed all the hoopla surrounding Cambridge Analytica, what happened is that a researcher collected user data through a quiz app that asked for permission to view people’s profiles and contacts. It was installed by around 270,000 Facebook users, and because of the way it was installed, it was able to access data of around 87 million users. That data was then sold to Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm.
Cambridge Analytica recently filed for bankruptcy, but that’s of little consolation to Facebook users who had an expectation of privacy and trusted Facebook to protect their personal information. Now things have shifted to how many other apps may have harvested user data in a similar manner, and whether that data might have also been sold to third-parties. We won’t know until the conclusion of Facebook’s investigation, which could take several months or more.