Facebook's apology tour for the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues, and in what appears to be an effort to be more proactive it's just announced it will be launching a brand new bounty programme designed to help identify and eliminate app developers that are misusing data. Eliminate as in give them the boot, not send killer Zuckerbots after their families.
Like bug bounties employed by both Facebook and countless other companies across the world, the idea behind the Data Abuse Bounty is simple. Someone identifies a problem, in this case app developers that are in violation of Facebook's policies regarding user data, and if Facebook agrees with what they've been saying there will be a sweet cash reward. Those violations include transferring data to third parties so that it may be sold, stolen, or used in scams and gaming political influence.
Like Facebook's bug bounty programme the reward will be based on the impact of the submitted report. While there's no upper limit to how much can be earned, it notes that bug bounties have gone as high as $40,000 in the past. Facebook promises that all legitimate reports will be investigated, and if it identifies a threat to user information the offending app will be shut down and if necessary the company responsible may face legal action. As well as paying the reporter, it'll bring the issue to the attention of anyone who may have been affected.
While it might be a bit late for something as high profile as what just happened, at least we can say Facebook is learning from the backlash it's faced over the past few weeks. It's realised people do care about protecting their data, and while they might sign it away to any old app that asks they're not happy if it goes any further. This is definitely a step in the right direction, at any rate. While the company does need to make sure apps are being more responsible, it can't manage to keep tabs on all of them all the time. Like security, freelancing that out to anyone who notices something dodgy is going on is a pretty wise move. [Facebook]