Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to make Facebook a more secure platform after users were left outraged by the Cambridge Analytica scandal that unfolded this week.
The CEO finally broke his silence on the misuse of 51 million users’ data Wednesday evening, outlining three steps the firm plans to take to prevent something like this from happening again.
But, according to Zuckerberg, the ‘most important actions’ toward protecting users’ data against ‘abusive apps’ were already taken years ago.
The Facebook boss says the firm will conduct an investigation of apps that had greater access to information prior to the more recent limitations, which were rolled out in 2014.
Zuckerberg also promised tighter restrictions on what data developers can access, a tool to more prominently display the apps you’ve given permissions to, and bans for developers that don’t comply.
Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to make Facebook a more secure platform after users were left outraged by the Cambridge Analytica scandal that unfolded this week. The CEO finally broke his silence on the misuse of 51 million users’ data Wednesday evening. File photo
Mark Zuckerberg’s much-awaited comments on the Cambridge Analytica scandal came amid growing frustration over his silence, with hashtags such as #WheresZuck and #deleteFacebook exploding across social media in the last few days.
In addition to offering a timeline on the events leading up to the revelation of the massive data harvesting scandal by a firm linked to both Trump’s campaign and Brexit, Zuckerberg admitted Facebook has ‘made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.’
Facebook made certain changes to limit apps’ data access back in 2014, and was made aware of Cambridge Analytics’ abuse in 2015.
Now, the firm plans to go back and revisit apps that existed prior to these changes.
‘First, we will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014, and we will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity,’ Zuckerberg said in the lengthy statement.
‘We will ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit. And if we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps.
‘That includes people whose data Kogan [Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan] misused here as well.’
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook will also crack down even further on developers’ access to data.
The Facebook boss says the firm will conduct an investigation of apps that had greater access to information prior to the more recent limitations, which were rolled out in 2014. Zuckerberg also promised tighter restrictions on what data developers can access
WHAT IS FACEBOOK DOING TO FIX ITS DATA MINING PROBLEM?
Mark Zuckerberg finally broke his silence on the misuse of 51 million users’ data Wednesday evening, outlining three steps the firm plans to take to prevent something like this from happening again. This includes:
1. Investigate apps which used old system to get user information
Apps can no longer access the same amount of information that Kogan did through quizzes thanks to a 2014 change in Facebook policy however it remains unclear how many took advantage of the old rules before they changed.
On Wednesday, Zuckerberg said Facebook’s first step was to go back and look at what they still know.
2. Make the rules even tighter for app developers
If a person has not engaged with an app for three months, Facebook will remove their access to you.
They will also restrict what information they do get in the first place to only your name, profile photo, and email address. If they want more, they will have to sign a contract and get approval.
3. Introduce tool to show what companies already know about you
The tool will appear in the next month or so on users’ news feeds.
Moving forward, apps will only be given access to your name, profile photo, and email address.
And, if you don’t use an app for three months, their access to your data will be revoked.
‘We’ll require developers to not only get approval but also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data,’ Zuckerberg continued, noting the firm would have ‘more changes to share in the next few days.’
Facebook is also planning to make it much easier for users to view the apps they’ve already given permission to.
The firm will launch a tool in the next month to show which apps have access to your data. This will appear right at the top of the News Feed, and will provide an ‘easy way to revoke those apps’ permissions,’ according to the CEO.
Mark Zuckerberg’s much-awaited comments on the Cambridge Analytica scandal came amid growing frustration over his silence. WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who sold the app to Facebook for 19 billion dollars in 2014, was one of thousands who vowed to leave Facebook
WHO ARE THE DATA VAMPIRES MINING FOR INFO ON FACEBOOK?
Facebook’s latest scandal involving communications firm Cambridge Analytica has served as a startling wake-up call for many users on the countless companies mining our social data.
Through a feature that meant apps could ask for permission not only to your data, but that of your Facebook friends as well, the firm was able to mine the information of 55 million users.
And, only 270,000 had given them permission to do so.
In 2014, Facebook changed its rules so that apps could no longer obtain data about a person’s friends unless those users had also authorized the app.
Still, Cambridge Analytica is far from the only firm to have access to Facebook users’ data.
By connecting your Facebook profile to a third-party app, you’re typically also granting that app permission to access your data.
You can check which apps your Facebook account is sharing data with by clicking here.
To view the apps you’ve given permission to (as shown above), go to Settings > Apps
That includes your name, profile picture, cover photo, gender, networks, username and user ID. These apps can also access your friends list, and any other public data.
Once the outside parties have access to your data, they can then use it to track different types of activity.
Many popular apps such as Instagram, Spotify, Airbnb, and Tinder can be connected to your Facebook account.
Just weeks ago, for example, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe bragged that the company stores ‘an enormous amount of information’ about users, and even tracks where they go after the movies.
MoviePass is also among the many apps that can be connected to your Facebook.
And, it doesn’t stop there.
Facebook users are waking up to just how much of their private information they have accidentally handed over to third-party apps. Social media users are sharing their shock at discovering thousands of software plugins have been gathering their data
Taking Facebook quizzes from third-party services, or doing image generators (such as the ever-popular ‘What Would Your Baby Look Like, or What Would You Look Like As The Opposite Sex), also often gives outside firms access to your data.
While these are usually preceded by a pop-up asking permission to access certain parts of your profile, many users have taken to clicking through without thoroughly reading what they’ve just agreed to.
Some users are now expressing their horror upon realizing they’ve granted permission to hundreds of third-party apps.
Other apps that have experienced viral popularity over the last few years, such as Facetune and Meitu, can access your Facebook data as well.
‘We already have a tool to do this in your privacy settings, and now we will put this tool at the top of your News Feed to make sure everyone sees it,’ Zuckerberg said.
After remaining silent for what many social media users griped was far too long after the scandal was first revealed this past weekend, the Facebook boss now says the firm is working on ways to better protect those who use the platform.
Notably, he did not once apologize.
‘While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn’t change what happened in the past,’ Zuckerberg said.
‘We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.’