Facebook Sharply Increases Estimate of People Exposed in Latest Privacy Scandal

87M users, not 50M, might have had data accessed by Cambridge Analytica
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 4, 2018 3:33 PM CDT
In this June 24, 2016, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Global Entrepreneur Summit at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(Newser) – Facebook revealed Wednesday that tens of millions more people might have been exposed in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal than previously thought and said it will restrict the user data that outsiders can access, the AP reports. Facebook is facing its worst privacy scandal in years following allegations that Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-affiliated data mining firm, used ill-gotten data from millions of users to try to influence elections. Facebook said Wednesday that as many as 87 million people might have had their data accessed—an increase from the 50 million disclosed in published reports. Details on the privacy changes announced Wednesday:

  • This Monday, all Facebook users will receive a notice on their Facebook feeds with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. They'll 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 says most of the affected users are in the US.
  • With outsiders' access to data under scrutiny, Facebook outlined several changes to further tighten its policies. Facebook is restricting access that apps can get about users' events, as well as information about groups such as member lists and content.
  • In addition, the company is also removing the option to search for users by entering a phone number or an email address. While this helped individuals find friends, Facebook says businesses that had phone or email information on customers were able to collect profile information this way.
  • Earlier Wednesday, Facebook unveiled a new privacy policy that seeks to clarify its data collection and use.
This comes on top of changes announced a few weeks ago and a privacy settings overhaul a week ago (more details here). It also comes as Zuckerberg is set to appear April 11 before a House committee—his first testimony before Congress. Separately, the US Federal Trade Commission and various authorities in Europe are investigating.

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