Fri, Apr 06, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Facebook data breach affected 87m users

REVISED:Users are to be notified which apps they have authorized and if their data has been shared, but other problems will take years to fix, Zuckerberg said

AP, NEW YORK

Facebook on Wednesday revealed that tens of millions more people might have been exposed in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal than previously thought and said it would restrict the user data that outsiders can access.

Those developments came as US congressional officials said the Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg is to testify next week, while the social media network unveiled a new privacy policy that aims to explain the data it gathers on users more clearly — but does not actually change what it collects and shares.

In a call with reporters on Wednesday, Zuckerberg admitted he made a “huge mistake” in failing to take a broad enough view of what Facebook’s responsibility is in the world.

It is not enough for Facebook to believe app developers when they say they follow the rules, the company has to ensure they do, he said.

The company is facing its worst privacy scandal in years following allegations that Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm affiliated with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign, used ill-gotten data from millions of users through an app to try to influence the 2016 US presidential elections.

As many as 87 million people might have had their Facebook data accessed, the company said, an increase from the 50 million disclosed in published reports.

Facebook is basing the estimate in part on the number of friends each user might have had.

Cambridge Analytica said in a statement that it had data for only 30 million people.

On Monday all Facebook users are to receive a notice on their news feeds with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. They will have a chance to delete apps they no longer want.

Users who might have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica will be told of that.

Facebook said most of the affected users are in the US.

Fixing the company’s problems will take years, Zuckerberg said.

Besides the privacy scandal, Facebook also has been dealing with fake news, the use of Facebook to spread hate and discord and concerns about social media’s effect on people’s mental well being.

These are “big issues” and a big shift for Facebook as it broadens its responsibility, Zuckerberg said, adding that he thinks that by the end of this year the company will have “turned a corner.”

Zuckerberg has made fixing the company his personal challenge for this year.

As part of the steps it is taking to address scrutiny about outsiders’ access to user data, Facebook outlined several changes to further tighten its policies.

For one, it is restricting access that apps can access users’ events, as well as information about groups such as member lists and content.

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