Facebook has suspended “tens of thousands” of apps connected to its platform which it suspects may be collecting large amounts of user profile data.
That’s a sharp rise from the 400 apps flagged a year ago by the company’s investigation in the wake of Cambridge Analytica, a scandal that saw tens of millions of Facebook profiles scraped to help swing undecided voters in favor of the Trump campaign during the U.S. presidential election in 2016.
Facebook did not provide a more specific number in its blog post but said the apps were built by 400 developers.
Many of the apps had been banned for a number of reasons, like siphoning off Facebook user profile data or making data public without protecting their identities, or other violations of the company’s policies.
Despite the bans, the social media giant said it has “not confirmed” other instances of misusing user data beyond those about which it has already notified the public. Among those previously disclosed include South Korean analytics firm Rankwave, accused of abusing the developer platform and refusing an audit; and myPersonality, a personality quiz that collected data on more than four million users.
The action comes in the wake of the since-defunct Cambridge Analytica and other serious privacy and security breaches. Federal authorities and lawmakers have launched investigations and issued fines from everything from its Libra cryptocurrency project to how the company handles users’ privacy.
Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democratic senator from Oregon, said this was not an “accident” as Facebook has claimed.
“Facebook put up a neon sign that said ‘Free Private Data,’ and let app developers have their fill of Americans’ personal info,” he said. “The FTC needs to hold Mark Zuckerberg personally responsible.”
Facebook said its investigation will continue.