After conducting an investigation into thousands of apps in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook announced on Monday that it has suspended about 200 of them for potentially misusing data. If, upon further examination, Facebook concludes that any of these apps did in fact violate its privacy policies, the company will ban them from the platform.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg had promised to conduct this investigation on March 21 in his first response to a New York Times report finding that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly accessed data collected through a personality-quiz app. Facebook has been combing through all apps that had access to large amounts of data before 2015 for red flags indicating that developers may have misused users’ personal information.
After identifying these suspicious apps, Facebook plans to conduct interviews, request information, and visit sites for in-person inspections to determine whether they should be permanently removed from the platform. The company has not disclosed which apps it suspended in its initial sweep but promised that it will notify users via the Help Center website if they installed an app that is ultimately banned.
This latest announcement comes just two days before the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing on “Cambridge Analytica and the Future of Data Privacy.” Christopher Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica employee who blew the whistle on the firm’s alleged indiscretions, is expected to testify.