Facebook reports that the personal data of 87 million Facebook users, mostly located in the United States, “may have been improperly shared” with British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. Previous estimates put the possible scope of improper sharing at about 50 million users. The increased number was calculated by Facebook by totaling the friends of the 270,000 Facebook users who permitted a researcher’s personality quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife” to collect and share personal data about the users and their Facebook friends for research purposes. The researcher allegedly shared the data with Cambridge Analytica, allegedly in violation of Facebook’s rules. See [view related post] for more details.
In addition to Facebook reporting a significantly higher number of potentially affected Facebook users, Facebook also announced a number of measures it states are designed to restrict access to data across its social media platform. Additionally, beginning on April 9, Facebook will also inform individual Facebook users whether their data may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, by a notice at the top of their news feeds [See complete notice – https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/04/restricting-data-access/].
This news comes after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed to appear before a Congressional committee investigating the company’s practices. Zuckerberg’s scheduled April 11 testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee will focus on the Facebook’s “use and protection of user data.” Zuckerberg has also been requested to testify before the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees, although no dates have been announced. In addition, the company faces an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, as well as several state investigations.
Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica suspended its CEO Alexander Nix as the Facebook scandal broke open two weeks ago, together with videos showing him talking with an undercover reporter about potential bribery and entrapment. The British firm has also been engulfed in a number of inquiries by Parliament and the British data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office.