Tue, Apr 10, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Facebook to contact affected users


Get ready to find out if your Facebook data have been swept up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Starting yesterday, the 87 million users who might have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica were to get a detailed message on their news feeds.

Facebook has said that most of the affected users — more than 70 million — are in the US, although there are more than 1 million each in the Philippines, Indonesia and the UK.

In addition, all 2.2 billion Facebook users will receive a notice titled “Protecting Your Information,” with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. If they want, users could shut off apps individually or turn off third-party access to their apps completely.

Reeling from its worst privacy crisis in history — allegations that the data mining firm that worked for US President Donald Trump’s campaign used ill-gotten user data to try to influence elections — Facebook is in full damage-control mode.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he made a “huge mistake” in failing to take a broad enough view of what Facebook’s responsibility is in the world.

He is to testify before the US Congress next week.

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie previously estimated that more than 50 million people were compromised by a personality quiz that collected data from users and their friends.

In an interview aired on Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Wylie said that the true number could be even larger than 87 million.

The Facebook application, called This is Your Digital Life, was a personality quiz created in 2014 by an academic researcher named Aleksander Kogan, who paid about 270,000 people to take it. The app vacuumed up not just the data of the people who took it, but also — thanks to Facebook’s loose restrictions — data from their friends, including details that they had not intended to share publicly.

Facebook later limited the data applications can access, but it was too late in this case.

Zuckerberg said that Facebook came up with the 87 million figure by calculating the maximum number of friends that users could have had while Kogan’s app was collecting data.

The company does not have logs going back that far, he said, adding that it cannot know exactly how many people might have been affected.

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