Facebook suspends hundreds of apps over data concerns

In this file photo taken on March 22, 2018 a computer screen displays the logo of the social networking site Facebook, in Manchester, England. (AFP)
Updated 23 August 2018
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Facebook suspends hundreds of apps over data concerns

  • myPersonality app was banned by the social network for not agreeing to an audit and “because it’s clear that they shared information with researchers as well as companies with only limited protections in place
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office began investigating the social media giant earlier this year due to the Cambridge Analytica data mishandling

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook on Wednesday said it has suspended more than 400 of thousands of applications it has investigated to determine whether people’s personal information was being improperly shared.
Applications were suspended “due to concerns around the developers who built them or how the information people chose to share with the app may have been used,” vice president of product partnerships Ime Archibong said in a blog post.
Apps put on hold at the social network were being scrutinized more closely, according to Archibong.
The app unit launched in March by Facebook stemmed from the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.
Facebook admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, which was working for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Archibong said that a myPersonality app was banned by the social network for not agreeing to an audit and “because it’s clear that they shared information with researchers as well as companies with only limited protections in place.”
Facebook planned to notify the approximately four million members of the social network who shared information with myPersonality, which was active mostly prior to 2012, according to Archibong.
Facebook has modified app data sharing policies since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
“We will continue to investigate apps and make the changes needed to our platform to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect people’s information,” Archibong said.
Britain’s data regulator said last month that it will fine Facebook half a million pounds for failing to protect user data, as part of its investigation into whether personal information was misused ahead of the Brexit referendum.
The Information Commissioner’s Office began investigating the social media giant earlier this year due to the Cambridge Analytica data mishandling.
Cambridge Analytica has denied accusations and has filed for bankruptcy in the United States and Britain.
Silicon Valley-based Facebook last month acknowledged it faces multiple inquiries from regulators about the Cambridge Analytica user data scandal.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg apologized to the European Parliament in May and said the social media giant is taking steps to prevent such a breach from happening again.
Zuckerberg was grilled about the breach in US Congress in April.


Nestle, AT&T pull YouTube ads over pedophile concerns

Updated 22 February 2019
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Nestle, AT&T pull YouTube ads over pedophile concerns

  • A video from a popular YouTuber and a report from Wired showed that pedophiles have made unseemly comments on innocuous videos of kids
  • YouTube has faced advertiser boycotts in the past, including a widespread boycott in early 2017

SAN FRANCISCO, US: Several companies, including AT&T and Nestle, are pulling advertisements from YouTube over concerns about inappropriate comments on videos of children.
A video from a popular YouTuber and a report from Wired showed that pedophiles have made unseemly comments on innocuous videos of kids. The comments reportedly included timestamps that showed where kids innocently bared body parts.
YouTube says it disabled comments on tens of millions of videos and deleted offending accounts and channels.
Nestle and Fortnite maker Epic Games say they paused ads on YouTube while the company works on the issue. AT&T says it has removed ads until YouTube can “protect our brand from offensive content of any kind.”
YouTube has faced advertiser boycotts in the past, including a widespread boycott in early 2017. Since then YouTube has made efforts to be more transparent about how it deals with offensive comments and videos on its site.
But the latest flap shows how much of an ongoing problem offensive content continues to be, said eMarketer video analyst Paul Verna.
“When you think about the scope of that platform and what they’re up against, it is really like a game of whack-a-mole to try to prevent these problems from happening,” he said.
Still, because of the powerful advertising reach of YouTube’s parent Google, brands are unlikely to stay away from YouTube for long, he said.
Digital ad spending in the US is expected to grow 19 percent in 2019 to $129.34 billion this year, or 54 percent of estimated total US ad spending, according to eMarketer, with Google and Facebook accounting for nearly 60 percent of that total.
“At the end of the day, there’s a duopoly out there of Google and Facebook,” for digital advertising, he said. “Any brand that doesn’t play the game with either is potentially leaving a big marketing opportunity on the table.”