Herald USA

The Fallout Of The Facebook Data Privacy Leak

Up to 87 million people may have had their personal information taken from Facebook, its chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer wrote in a blog post. Previous estimates thought just over 50m users had been affected by Cambridge Analytica accessing data.

Most of the 87m people whose data was shared with the political consultancy, which worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, were in the United States, he added. A total of 70,632,350 users in the US were affected while 1.79m users were in the UK.

Mr.Schroepfer did not detail how Facebook came to determine the higher estimate of 87m users affected. He said Facebook would tell people if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook is taking steps to restrict the personal data available to third-party app developers, he added. From Monday, 9 April, Facebook users will be given a link at the top of their news feed so they can see what apps they use and the information they have shared with those apps.

As part of that process, people will be told if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. The largest social media company in the world – with a billion users – has seen its shares plunge as it faces anger from users, advertisers, and politicians after a series of “fake news”, election-meddling and privacy scandals.

Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will testify over the matter next week before the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, “regarding the company’s use and protection of user data” the panel said on Wednesday.

Facebook is currently facing investigations by authorities in the US, UK, and EU over a reported data incident between itself and consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica. Following allegations that data belonging to its users was harvested by Cambridge Analytica, the company’s senior executives have been summoned to appear before MPs in the UK and Congress in the US.

Mr. Zuckerberg has accepted the US invite, the committee confirmed on Wednesday, stating: “This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online.”

“We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions on April 11th.”

Mr. Zuckerberg has so far resisted calls from the British government to face its digital committee over the data leak, which includes allegations about the site being used to influence the EU Referendum.

Facebook shares were down 1.4% on Wednesday to $153.90. They are down more than 16% since the Cambridge Analytics scandal broke on 19 March.

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