Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has banned the quiz app myPersonality for not cooperating with an audit and because it was clear “they shared information with researchers as well as companies with only limited protections in place.” Ever since the company started auditing apps in March after the Cambridge Analytica upheaval, this is the second app to be banned for having shared information with researchers. Facebook also revealed that it has suspended another 200 apps since the last suspension that is public knowledge.
Facebook said myPersonality was mainly active before 2012. myPersonality was created by researchers at the Cambridge Psychometrics Centre to gather data from Facebook users via personality quizzes. It operated from 2007 to 2012, and gathered data on about four million users directly while it was operational, whom Facebook will be alerting now. Facebook has said that there is no evidence as of now that myPersonality accessed users’ friends’ information.
400 apps now suspended
Notably, Facebook has been investigating the app since April, when it only suspended the app from its platform. New Scientist reported that over 6 million people completed the tests on myPersonality app and half of them even agreed to share data from their Facebook profiles with the app. “If myPersonality refuses to cooperate or fails our audit, we will ban it,” Facebook’s VP of product partnerships, Ime Archibong, had said in April after the suspension.
With this, the number of app suspensions have reached about 400. In April, Facebook had suspended around 200 apps from its platform following an initial review of apps that had access to large amounts of user data, and said it would investigate these apps for on whether they misused any data.
Personality apps on Facebook: a timeline
— On Tuesday, Facebook banned quiz app myPersonality which gathered data of up to 4 million users directly.
— In June, a researcher discovered that a third-party app called NameTests left the data of 120 million Facebook users exposed to anybody — even after the users deleted the app.
— In April, Wired reported that Cambridge Analytica may have accessed the private inboxes of those who took quizzes on ‘This is Your Digital Life’.
— In March, it was revealed that political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica amassed a massive chunk of Facebook user data for some 50 million people without ever getting their permission. In 2015, Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology professor at Cambridge University, created a quiz app named ‘This is Your Digital Life’. which around 270,000 people downloaded and signed into using their Facebook credentials, giving Kogan access to a treasure trove of their data, consenting to have their data collected for academic use. Kogan passed the data to Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.