DATA GUZZLER Facebook has given its developer platform a nip and tuck and has axed some APIs in an effort to shore up its privacy and security.
The move comes in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the data of some 87 million Facebook users sucked up and used illegitimately.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who faced a grilling over Facebook's handling of data, noted the social network will take a closer look at its developer tools to prevent dodgy data grabbing by third-party apps.
Notable changes to this effect can be seen with the Facebook Login tool, which will no longer allow apps to gain permissions to post to Facebook on behalf of users unless they are specifically Facebook-approved apps.
The ability to customise data sharing permission prompts has also been stripped back, with Facebook now implementing a standardised text to make the way apps get user permissions more consistent and clear.
Another significant change is to the Instagram Graph API, which prevents developers from using it to pull the name and bio of users who leave comments on posted content.
Basically, Facebook is making it more challenging for developers and third-party apps to scrape user data willy-nilly, though they won't be prevented for all data collection.
"Innovation demands iteration; it requires constant change. And, while change is never easy, we believe the immediate platform updates we are announcing today will build stronger connections for people, developers and businesses in the future, while maintaining their privacy and security on Facebook," said Facebook.
These changes are slated to come into effect on 1 August, which gives developers a window to get their apps in order so that when the API changes roll out they won't immediately bork a load of third-party software.
Facebook has a long road ahead of it if it wants to set itself up as a bastion of ethical and privacy-protecting data use. But at least Zuck and pals appear to be trying to get better rather than collectively shrug at privacy woes. µ
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