Facebook has come a long way from the Cambridge Analytica scandal in terms of data protection. The social media platform is continually tightening its privacy rules and actively enforcing them. As you have noted during the last two years, there are more restrictions in the targeting options for Facebook ads. Pages and publishers are subject to scrutiny and users have access to more information to understand why they see a specific ad and how they can opt out from seeing it again.
In a new move, Facebook is now paying close attention to third party app developers. As you know, Facebook now hosts various apps created by independent developers, most of them games or shopping applications. From now, these apps will be subject to an annual Data Use Checkup in order to prevent data misuse.
What Does Facebook Say About the New App Check-up?
The Facebook Team made the announcement on the Facebook for Developers platform on the 8th of April. The new form of scrutiny is officially called Data Use Checkup and it is different from the App Review.
Thus, even after an app has passed the App Review and is included in the Facebook library, it will still be subject to the annual Data Use Checkup. According to Facebook, the developers are responsible to perform this check using a self-service tool.
How Does the New Facebook Data Use Checkup Work?
At the present, the new check-up is in the testing phase. Thus, a selected group of developers will see the notification to perform it. If you receive it for your apps that use Facebook APIs, you must perform the Data Use Check-Up within the next 60 days.
However, even if your apps are not included in the testing phase, it is time to start reviewing them. Thus, you can make sure that when the time comes, they will pass the test.
Here are the four important actions that Facebook recommends developers to take right now:
1. Update Your Contact Information
Go to Notification Settings and make sure that you phone number and your email address are the ones you currently use. This is important should you receive notifications from the Facebook Team about your apps.
These notifications may include warnings about policy violations. If you do not respond in a timely manner, your apps will be deleted from the Facebook library.
2. Assign an Administrator for Each App
Each app must have an admin. This is the only app role that can access the self-service tool to perform the annual Data Use Checkup. To assign an admin, go to the App Dashboard and select the “Roles” tab.
If you have several apps, the admin should be the person with the best knowledge about the respective app.
3. Audit All Your Apps
This is a best practice for any app developer, but if you haven’t managed to do it, now is the time. This includes removing apps that you no longer need and for which you will no longer provide update.
An obsolete app will hurt you overall reputation. Plus, you will get a lot of notifications concerning it, and they take time to review.
4. Analyse and Update Permissions and Features
Facebook recommends reviewing the current permissions and features and removing those that you no longer need. You can do this by accessing the App Dashboard, then the App Review Tab and selecting My Permissions and Features.
Last but not least, the Facebook Team assures all developers that they are taking into account the current situation, with its restrictions that lead to a slower response time from developers. Thus, the testing phase of the Data Use Checkup tool will be done in a manner that does not burden your current activities, as some of your developers may not be available for work.