Facebook Says Millions More Users Were Affected by the Cambridge Analytica Scandal Than Previously Reported
The Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to plague Facebook, which is now saying up to 87 million of its users were affected, up from the approximate 50 million initially reported.
Facebook revealed the newer higher figure in a release detailing how it plans to restrict data access on its platform and noted that the affected Facebook users are largely based in the United States. Facebook will also notify users if their data was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, according to the release written by Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer.
The update sent Facebook’s stock plummeting once again, after already facing a rough week in the wake of news that users’ information was passed on to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that has claimed to have helped get President Donald Trump elected. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also planning to testify before Congress on the matter next week.
Facebook said it is making a number of changes to reduce the chances of a similar event in the future. The social media site is changing app permissions regarding Facebook Events, preventing it from having access to attendees and posts on the Facebook event page wall. Third-party apps will also have less access to closed and secret groups on Facebook and Pages and will also need Facebook’s approval to access certain information. Facebook says it’s also planning on tightening up that approval process as well. For Android users, Facebook is deleting logs of call and text history and information Facebook receives, meant to surface people frequently contacted, will be limited. Partner Categories, which allowed third-party data providers to offer targeting on Facebook, will also wind down over the next six months.
Facebook also found that the ability to search people by phone number or email address was allowing others to scrape information from public profiles. The issue could actually affect a number of users, according to Facebook.
“Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way,” the release reads.