Some would say it’s already too late but nevertheless, Facebook continues to try and put out the digital fires that have come out after the recent revelations about apparent data access. Now they have released details about nine important changes they’re making to how 3rd parties can access (or in this case not access) the information that we have on the social network and related apps. They also confirmed that around 87 million people’s data, mostly from the US, may have been improperly shared to Cambridge Analytica.
Starting now, apps that are using the Events API will no longer be able to access the guest list and the posts on the wall. Also, for the Groups API, all third-party apps will need an approval from Facebook and also the admin of the Group but they will no longer be able to have access to the member list and their personal information. As for Pages, all future access to the API will also need to be approved by Facebook. Basically, Facebook needs to approve all the 3rd-party APIs that want to have access to user data.
The social network will also have to approve all the apps that use Facebook Login that request access to things like check-ins, likes, photos, posts, videos, events, groups, etc. Although they have been doing this since 2014, in light of everything, they’re making the process stricter. Apps will no longer be able to ask for access to things like religious or political views, relationship status and details, custom friends lists, education and work history, fitness activity, book reading activity, music listening activity, news reading, video watch activity, and games activity.
You will also no longer be able to use a person’s phone number or email address to search for them on Facebook as some use this to scrape public profile information. Call and text history has always been opt-in for those using Messenger and Facebook Lite but Facebook emphasizes they don’t collect the content and now all logs older than one year will be deleted. They also confirmed that Partner Categories will now be discontinued as this has been the source of all this brouhaha.
It may be a case of shutting down the barn door after the horse has bolted, but you can’t blame Facebook for trying. Starting April 9, there will be a link at the top of your News Feed which will show you what apps you’ve used and what you’ve shared with them. Time to start revoking access.