Facebook Playing Detective on Misuse of User Data

By CultureBanx Team

  • Data breaches are often more problematic for people of color
  • Facebook suspended 200 apps for potentially violating its rules in May

Another day equals a new problem for Facebook (FB +1.56%) as the company tries to reign in the misuse of its user data by outside apps. Ime Archibong, vice president of partnerships for Facebook has been tasked with being the chief sleuth, to discover where the data went after it left the platform or figure out where it is now. Does this internal investigation point to a larger cultural shift within the organization?

Why This Matters: Facebook has said its probe starts with apps that have user bases of around 100,000 people or more, or apps that pulled extensive data about a smaller group of people. Specifically the social media giant’s app investigation is a response to criticism from issues earlier this year around the Cambridge Analytica scandal. When it comes to data breaches they are often more problematic for people of color living on fixed or low incomes, or from other marginalized communities.

Back in May it suspended 200 apps for potentially violating its rules. However, when describing the developers involved in the investigation Archibong told the Wall Street Journal they “are going to be the same developers that we’re going to be working with five years from now on the newest and latest and greatest stuff and I want them to be excited about our platform.”

The internal investigation has run into some major problems including app developers that gathered excessive amounts of data are out of business. Facebook is still searching their system to find developers and get to the bottom of how they used the information between 2007 and 2015.

Situational Awareness: Facebook is trying to meticulously piece together what happened to these massive lumps of data. From there, the company will determine whether it was used in a way that needs to be disclosed to users and regulators.

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