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Facebook Forbids Apps From Scooping Up Unrelated User Data

Olivia Carville

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. banned apps from running personality quizzes of the kind that spurred the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal in an attempt to strengthen the social media platform’s privacy and security.

“Apps with minimal utility, such as personality quizzes, may not be permitted on the platform,” Facebook’s Eddie O’Neil said Thursday in a blog post. In the future, apps will also be forbidden from asking for data that doesn’t directly “enrich the in-app user experience,” he said in the post.

Facebook came under fire last year after it was disclosed that political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica improperly harvested data from as many as 87 million Facebook users through a quiz app called “thisisyourdigitallife” developed by researcher Aleksandr Kogan. Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, paid to acquire the information from Kogan and used it to create political profiles.

The update to Facebook’s policies also include removing access to a number of application programming interfaces (APIs) and evaluating an app’s access to user permissions.

To contact the reporter on this story: Olivia Carville in New York at ocarville1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack

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