Facebook bans quiz app, pulls its security app over privacy


LONDON (AP) — Facebook has banned a third-party quiz app amid concerns over the possible misuse of users’ data and pulled its own security software from Apple’s app store after the iPhone maker tightened data security rules.

The social media company said Wednesday it took action against the myPersonality app because its creators refused an inspection, and over worries that data on as many as 4 million users may have been misused.

Facebook is particularly vexed about anything relating to the misuse of data following the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year. Allegations that political consultancy used personal information harvested from 87 million Facebook accounts have seriously dented the company’s reputation as well as its stock market value. Facebook has investigated thousands of apps and suspended more than 400 apps over data sharing concerns.

Facebook said it moved to ban the myPersonality app after it found user information was shared with researchers and companies “with only limited protections in place.”

The company said it would notify the app’s users that their data may have been misused. It’s only the second time Facebook has banned an app, after it blocked one linked to Cambridge Analytica.

It said myPersonality was “mainly active” prior to 2012, and it wasn’t clear why Facebook was taking action now.

The app was created in 2007 by researcher David Stillwell and allowed users to take a personality questionnaire and get feedback on the results.

“There was no misuse of personal data,” Stillwell said in a statement, adding that “this ban appears to be purely cosmetic.” Stillwell said users gave their consent and the app’s data was fully anonymized before it was used for academic research. He also rejected Facebook’s assertion that he refused to submit to an audit, saying the company knows he is willing to provide information.

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