San Francisco (AFP)

Facebook announced on Friday that it has suspended tens of thousands of applications, which potentially pose a risk in terms of the privacy of its users, according to an internal survey conducted on millions of applications.

The social network launched this investigation in response in particular to the Cambridge Analytica scandal: in 2018, a whistleblower had revealed that this British company had conducted massive manipulation campaigns to influence American and British voters through applications on Facebook.

"We promised at the time that we would review all the apps that had access to significant amounts of information (about users, Ed) before the change of our rules in 2014," said in a statement Ime Archibong, vice president of partnerships at Facebook.

For this major survey, the platform has worked with "hundreds of people: lawyers, external investigators, data analysts, engineers (...)" to "better understand the abusive mechanisms" and to be able, in fine, " dislodge harmful actors from the developers ".

The suspensions involve 400 developers but "do not necessarily mean that these apps pose a threat to people," said Archibong.

Some applications "did not respond to our requests for more information, so we suspended them, in accordance with our commitments to act," he says.

Since the outbreak of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in March 2018, Google and Facebook are subject to particular attention, particularly from governments, both in the United States and Europe, concerning the use of personal data.

The US consumer protection agency in July imposed a record $ 5 billion fine on Facebook for "misleading" its users over control of their privacy, including a massive leak of personal data to the firm British Cambridge Analytica, involved in Donald Trump's presidential campaign and that for Brexit in the United Kingdom.

© 2019 AFP