Facebook is caving to pressure from all sides to improve its data security. The company has announced that it will be imposing stricter controls on third party apps, reducing the amount of information they can access on the platform. Additionally, the company will be adjusting how it deals with users and their data.
The biggest part of the policy change is how much information third party apps can request through the Facebook API. What was once a completely open platform now prevents the API from collecting information like guest lists from events, posts from closed groups, and is even requiring approval from Facebook to access check-ins, likes, photos, posts, videos, events and groups.
This change is taking place immediately, which has apparently caught some app makers off guard. Some apps that use Facebook logins have stopped working, with Tinder being the most noticeable casualty at the moment.
Further restrictions are being added through the removal of email and phone number search. Facebook has previously allowed users to search for people using one of these contact methods. Interestingly, it says that malicious parties have used the feature to scrape information about people; which is why it has been removed completely.
Facebook has also restructured how it stores user call and text history. Probably because it was found to have been keeping more information than it really should have. Going forward, the company will be deleting all logs that are older than a year.
Then there is the matter of allowing apps to call information from the platform. From now on, apps will be unable to access information from users who have not interacted with the app for more than three months. Hopefully preventing another Cambridge Analytica incident.
One could argue that these measures are closing the doors after the horses have escaped. It’s all damage control from Facebook, but is perhaps a necessary step forward. Especially since its still the most used social media platform in the world, and people just can’t seem to step away from it.