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Published On: Fri, Apr 20th, 2018

Facebook, How an App Was Almost Its Downfall, and Moving Forward

Facebook is a popular social media website. There are literally over one billion Facebook users. With so many users sharing so much information on a daily basis, privacy has always been a concern.

photo/Gerd Altmann

If you’ve paid any attention to the news lately, you know it has all come to a head. The latest Facebook news has app developers wondering how to keep their apps secure, and it has users of Facebook wondering how the social media platform uses their information.

Here’s what you need to know about the app that was almost Facebook’s downfall and what Facebook is doing to move forward.

Cambridge Analytica

Chances are you hadn’t heard of Cambridge Analytica until the Facebook scandal broke. However, just because you know the name now doesn’t mean you know who they are.

Cambridge Analytica is a data firm. They provide their clients with insights into consumer behavior. That’s all you really need to know in order to understand why they would have an interest in having a presence on this popular social media website.

Something else you may not know is that the scandal is all about an app that Cambridge Analytica had on Facebook. The app was what was used to harvest user data. As soon as it was discovered, Facebook paused their app review process.

Facebook Reopens Game and Messenger App Reviews

Pausing the review process was a good thing. Although it was frustrating to app developers, it showed users of the social media platform that they recognized there was a problem and they were willing to do something to fix it. While they paused reviews, they modified the review process itself and limited the amount of user information that app developers could access when developing a new app.

Today, the review process has been reopened with the new safeguards, but the damage may already have been done. People are losing faith in Facebook, which is causing app developers to wonder if it’s even worth creating new apps on the platform.

Protecting User Information

In an effort to keep users from leaving the platform, Facebook is doing more to protect user information. These new policy updates include:

  • The elimination of Partner Categories that allowed for the import of offline data from third parties
  • Privacy shortcuts that enable users to alter their settings quickly and easily
  • All settings can be found in a single place instead of spread across multiple tabs
  • Information that can and can’t be shared with apps is more clear
  • Access Your Information is a secure way for users to manage their information, including the ability to delete it

The question is whether these new protections will be enough. As more and more of our lives are being posted on the internet, users of social media will continue to demand more control over their information. Only time will tell if people will continue to use Facebook, and if Facebook is willing to do what it takes to give users complete control over their content and habits that are spread across the site.

Author: Carmelo Hannity

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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