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Wall Street Journal / Tech

Facebook Suspends Some 200 Apps in Data-Abuse Investigation

The apps, which Facebook didn’t name, are among thousands the company has examined so far in an investigation of outside developers.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has warned that a sprawling internal investigation into apps that misused Facebook users’ information wouldn’t uncover where all the data ended up.

Facebook Inc. FB 1.22% has suspended some 200 applications for suspected misuse of users’ information shared on or through Facebook, the company said Monday.

The apps, which Facebook didn’t name, are among thousands Facebook has examined so far in an investigation of outside developers.

The company began the probe after reports that Cambridge Analytica, which worked with the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, had improperly obtained Facebook user data and retained it for years after telling Facebook that the records had been expunged. University of Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan initially collected the user data by creating a personality-quiz app in 2013 that plugged directly into Facebook’s platform.

Facebook announced in 2014 it would change its policies, significantly reducing the data apps could access. The changes went into full effect in 2015.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in March the investigation would help identify and deter bad actors but wouldn’t uncover where all the data ended up and how it was being deployed.

In the blog post Monday, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships, didn’t specify how far along the company was in the review process.

“There is a lot more work to be done to find all the apps that may have misused people’s Facebook data—and it will take time,” Mr. Archibong wrote. “We are investing heavily to make sure this investigation is as thorough and timely as possible. We will keep you updated on our progress.”

Mr. Zuckerberg had said that Facebook would examine tens of thousands of apps that collected large amounts of user data and estimated the investigation’s cost at “many millions of dollars.”

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