The personal information of 87 million Facebook users may have been improperly shared with data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, the social media giant has said, as it rolled out a set of new security measures.
“In total, we believe the Facebook information of up to 87 million people — mostly in the US — may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.” Mike Schroepfer, the Chief Technology Officer of Facebook, said on Wednesday.
Facebook’s reputation has been pummeled in recent weeks, following disclosures that data mining firm Cambridge Analytica collected the personal data of at least 50 million Facebook users, in order to target voters as part of President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
In the statement on Wednesday the tech giant also announced nine major changes which, it hopes, will safeguard privacy in the wake of the scandal. It is reducing the amount of users’ information that apps can access from Facebook events and Groups.
Other changes include the complete removal of a feature which meant people could enter another person’s phone number or email address into a Facebook search to find them. This is because the feature allowed user’s information to be ‘scraped’ by malicious actors.
“We believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way,” Schroepfer said.
Facebook will also ensure that it does not collect the content of messages sent by people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android.
Facebook is currently under investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission to determine whether Facebook violated the terms of consent decree over its use of personal data.
The scandal has lost the firm $100 billion in its stock market value and galvanized a global debate on internet privacy.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a statement on Facebook in March, apologizing for the “breach of trust” between Facebook and its users.
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