San Francisco: Facebook Inc. said on Wednesday that the personal information of up to 87 million users may have been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, up from a previous news media estimate of more than 50 million.
Most of the 87 million people whose data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, which worked on US President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, were in the United States, Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer wrote in a blog post.
Facebook said it was taking steps to restrict the personal data available to third-party app developers.
Next 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 had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica will be told of that within that notice. Facebook says most of the affected users are in the US.
Facebook is restricting the user data it allows outsiders to access as part of steps it’s taking to address the fallout from its worst privacy crisis in years. It is also restricting access that apps can get about users’ events, as well as information about groups such as member lists and content.
The world’s largest social media company has been hammered by investors and faces anger from users, advertisers and lawmakers after a series of scandals about fake news stories, election-meddling and privacy.
Last month, Facebook acknowledged that personal information about millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook shares were down 1.4% on Wednesday to $153.90. They are down more than 16% since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.
The previous estimate of more than 50 million Facebook users affected by the data leak came from two newspapers, The New York Times and London’s Observer, based on their investigations of Cambridge Analytica.
Schroepfer did not provide details of how Facebook came to determine its higher estimate, but he said Facebook would tell people if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.
The British-based consultancy has denied wrongdoing. It says it engaged a university professor “in good faith" to collect Facebook data in a manner similar to how other third-party app developers have harvested personal information. Reuters