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Social Networking Giant Facebook Finally Bans Personality Quiz Apps

Facebook data was used to develop "psychographic" profiles of people and deliver pro-Trump material to them online during the 2016 US Presidential elections

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Facebook, Data
A photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York, Feb. 19, 2014. VOA

Facebook has announced to ban personality quiz apps on its platform — a move taken after the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year that helped researchers access personal information of 87 million users via the quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife”.

The ban on personality quizzes is part of a broader crackdown by Facebook on dubious developers.

“Our Facebook platform policies are being updated to include provisions that apps with minimal utility, such as personality quizzes, may not be permitted on the platform,” Facebook said in a statement on late Friday.

“The update also clarifies that apps may not ask for data that doesn’t enrich the in-app, user experience,” the social media platform added.

The new updates “include removing access to a number of APIs, updating our platform policies, and regularly evaluating an app’s access to user permissions”.

The company said that it will lock down older application programming interfaces (APIs) from accessing user data.

“Previously approved user permissions that your app has not used or accessed in the past 90 days may be considered expired. Access to expired permissions will be revoked,” Facebook informed.

Facebook, Fake News
A user gets ready to launch Facebook on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. Facebook has made changes to fight false information, including de-emphasizing proven false stories in people’s feeds so others are less likely to see them. VOA

The company is also going to periodically review, audit and remove permissions that the older apps have not used.

Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan and his company Global Science Research created an app called “thisisyourdigitallife” in 2014.

The users were paid to take a psychological test and the app collected the data. It also gathered data on a person’s Facebook friends.

Kogan passed the data to British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica In this way, millions of Facebook profiles were mined for data.

Also Read- Apple Wanted to Buy Intel’s Phone-modem Chip Business: Report

Kogan along with Cambridge Analytica then created a software solution to help influence choices in elections.

Facebook data was used to develop “psychographic” profiles of people and deliver pro-Trump material to them online during the 2016 US Presidential elections. (IANS)

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Mark Zuckerberg Not Going to Sell WhatsApp or Instagram

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a US lawmaker's call to break his company, saying he's not going to sell WhatsApp or Instagram

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Mark Zukerberg, Facebook, Instagram, Sell, Business
Zuckerberg, however, rejected these calls, saying the size of the social media giant was actually a benefit to its users and the security of the democratic process. VOA

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a US lawmaker’s call to break his company, saying he’s not going to sell WhatsApp or Instagram at any cost.

Senator Josh Hawley (Missouri Republican) tweeted that he met Zuckerberg during his visit to Washington, DC on Thursday, and asked him to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.

“Just finished meeting with @facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Had a frank conversation. Challenged him to do two things to show FB is serious about bias, privacy & competition. 1) Sell WhatsApp & Instagram 2) Submit to independent, third-party audit on censorship. He said no to both,” tweeted Hawley, one of Facebook’s biggest critics.

Zuckerberg also met President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

“Nice meeting with Mark Zuckerberg of @Facebook in the Oval Office today,” tweeted Trump.

This is Facebook CEO’s first public trip to Washington since he testified before House and Senate committees in April last year over Cambridge Analytica data scandal affecting 87 million users globally.

According to media reports, Zuckerberg met several lawmakers this time and discussions included allegations that Facebook curtails conservative speech.

Mark Zukerberg, Facebook, Instagram, Sell, Business
Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a US lawmaker’s call to break his company, saying he’s not going to sell WhatsApp or Instagram at any cost. Pixabay

As the chorus grows to break up Facebook, the social networking platform’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said that it won’t serve any purpose.

“You could break us up, you could break other tech companies up, but you actually don’t address the underlying issues people are concerned about,” she had said earlier.

Several US senators have called for breaking up the social network amid repeated data breaches and privacy violations on the platform.

ALSO READ: Scientists Reform Face Of Another Human Ancestor

Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, has stressed that authorities should take a serious look at breaking up Facebook as the social network platform is a “utility that has gone unregulated”.

Another Democratic 2020 candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, has also stressed upon the possibility of breaking up Facebook.

Zuckerberg, however, rejected these calls, saying the size of the social media giant was actually a benefit to its users and the security of the democratic process. (IANS)