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Facebook suspends 200 apps over data misuse

Washington

FACEBOOK said on Monday it has suspended "around 200" apps on its platform as part of an investigation into misuse of private user data.

The investigation was launched after revelations that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica hijacked data on some 87 million Facebook users as it worked on Mr Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

"The investigation process is in full swing," said an online statement from Facebook product partnerships vice-president Ime Archibong.

"To date thousands of apps have been investigated and around 200 have been suspended - pending a thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data."

The revelations over Cambridge Analytica have prompted investigations on both sides of the Atlantic and led Facebook to tighten its policies on how personal data is shared and accessed.

Facebook made a policy change in 2014 limiting access to user data but noted that some applications still had data obtained prior to the revision.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg spent most of the past month on the fallout from revelations about Cambridge Analytica's data hijacking.

Efforts to rebuild trust in Facebook include a review of all applications that had access to large amounts of user data.

The 200 applications Facebook said it suspended included one called myPersonality that collected psychological information shared by millions of members of the social network who voluntarily took "psychometric" tests.

"We suspended the myPersonality app almost a month ago because we believe that it may have violated Facebook's policies," Mr Archibong said on Monday in response to an AFP inquiry. "We are currently investigating the app."

About 40 per cent of the people who took the tests also opted to share Facebook profile data, resulting in a large database, the University of Cambridge psychometrics centre said of the project on its website.

Security and encryption at the website was meagre and easily bypassed, according to a report on Monday in British magazine New Scientist. AFP

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