Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Facebook revealed that Cambridge Analytica was able to access personal data of up to 87 million users. The figure was shockingly higher than the previous estimate of 50 million.
The number was shared by the company’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, in a blog post. Schroepfer wrote that they “believe the Facebook information of up to 87 million people – mostly in the US – may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.”
Last month the personal data of almost 50 million Facebook users were unethically shared with Cambridge Analytica, a data company that worked on President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Facebook now says up to 87 million users’ data improperly shared. That’s roughly 1 in 3 Facebook users: https://t.co/pOwothIErT@RebeccaJarvis brings us the story from Times Square. pic.twitter.com/6QNBbeThcD
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 5, 2018
The huge discrepancy between the new figures and initial estimates was surprising, although Facebook’s head Mark Zuckerberg tried to downplay it a bit, saying that he’s confident the final tally of affected users will be lower than 87 million.
Zuckerberg is expected to appear before Congress on April 11 to discuss how Facebook manages the personal data and privacy of its 2-billion strong social media platform. Facebook’s CEO was also invited to appear before a committee of the UK parliament but he declined and just sent a deputy.
Facebook also posted another blog post stating that it had found and deleted almost 300 additional Instagram and Facebook accounts and pages with ties to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a propaganda group working out of Russia.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 6, 2018
Schroepfer’s blog post also confirmed several privacy updates, like the scrapping of phone numbers and email addresses being used to search for people on the social network. The company believes that due to “the scale and sophistication” of activities they’ve uncovered, the feature made it possible for information found on their public profile to be scrapped.
The blog also revealed that starting April 9, Facebook users will be able to check if their data was exposed to Cambridge Analytica. The disclosure on the data mining firm will reportedly appear at the top of users’ News Feed.
[Image via YouTube]