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Facebook suspends hundreds of apps over data concerns

The app myPersonality was banned for not agreeing to an audit and for sharing user information

Apps were suspended due to how the information people chose to share with the apps may have been used.

San Francisco

FACEBOOK on Wednesday said it has suspended more than 400 of thousands of applications it has investigated to determine whether users' personal information was being improperly shared.

Applications were suspended "due to concerns around the developers who built them or how the information people chose to share with the app may have been used", vice-president of product partnerships Ime Archibong said in a blog post.

Apps put on hold at the social network were being scrutinised more closely, he added.

The app unit launched in March by Facebook stemmed from the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.

Facebook admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, which was working for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Mr Archibong said that a myPersonality app was banned by the social network for not agreeing to an audit and "because it's clear that it shared information with researchers as well as companies with only limited protections in place".

Facebook planned to notify the approximately 4 million members of the social network who shared information with myPersonality, which was active mostly prior to 2012, according to Archibong.

Facebook has modified app data sharing policies since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

"We will continue to investigate apps and make the changes needed to our platform to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect people's information," said Mr Archibong.

Britain's data regulator said last month that it will fine Facebook £500,000 (S$882,000) for failing to protect user data, as part of its investigation into whether personal information was misused ahead of the Brexit referendum.

The Information Commissioner's Office began investigating the social media giant earlier this year due to the Cambridge Analytica data mishandling.

Cambridge Analytica has denied accusations and has filed for bankruptcy in the US and Britain. Silicon Valley-based Facebook last month acknowledged it faces multiple inquiries from regulators about the Cambridge Analytica user data scandal.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg apologised to the European Parliament in May and said the social media giant is taking steps to prevent such a breach from happening again.

Mr Zuckerberg was grilled about the breach in US Congress in April. AFP