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Facebook shuts off access to user data for hundreds of thousands of apps

Facebook shuts off access to user data for hundreds of thousands of apps


All app makers who did not submit to the company’s review process by its August 1st deadline are being cut off

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Photo by Michele Doying / The Verge

Facebook this evening announced that it’s shutting off access to its application programming interface, the developer platform that lets app makers access user data, for hundreds of thousands of inactive apps. The company had set an August 1st deadline back in May, during its F8 developer conference, for developers and businesses to re-submit apps to an internal review, a process that involves signing new contracts around user data collection and verifying one’s authenticity.

The goal is to ensure third-party software on Facebook was in line with the company’s data privacy rules and new restrictions put in place in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a third-party developer siphoned user data and sold it to another firm in violation of Facebook’s terms of service. Now, after it identified numerous apps that were either inactive or from developers who had not submitted the software for review, Facebook is cutting off those apps’ access to its Platform API.

“We’d encourage apps that are still being used but have not been submitted for app review to do so now. However, to ensure all apps currently in use go through our review process, we will be proactively queueing up apps for review,” writes Ime Archibong, the company’s vice president of product partnerships, in a blog post. “Where we need more information, developers will have a limited amount of time to respond. If we don’t hear back within that timeframe, we will remove the app’s access to APIs that require approval.”

Facebook says developers will not lose their API access while their app is in the queue for review, or while Facebook is in the process of reviewing the app, so long as the software complies with its revised policies.