On Wednesday, in a blog post announcing the implementation of changes that would be made in order to protect a user’s Facebook information that could be used by apps, Mike Schroepfer (Chief Technology Officer, Facebook) revealed that the information of about 87 million people might have been “improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.”
The overall number has increased by over 30 million from the previously quoted one. The announcement comes in light of the allegation that Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm, obtained information on millions of users through Facebook data in order to try and influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election and the UK Brexit referendum.
An update on the changes we’re making to better protect your Facebook information. https://t.co/dqAQYTP65X— Facebook (@facebook) April 4, 2018
While the bulk of users were from the US, around five lakh Indian users’ information may have also been harvested. The Indian IT ministry sent out a notice regarding the data breach to Cambridge Analytica and whether or not the data of Indians was used to profile them and influence their voting behaviour. Reports claim that the firm has requested for an additional week to respond to this notice. Facebook was also sent a notice by the government about the details of measures being put in place in order to protect data and the full extent of the data breach.
Cambridge Analytica maintains that it deleted all raw data once they were notified that it had been improperly obtained, and that they only licensed the research company GSR to obtain the data of 30 million people.
When Facebook contacted us to let us know the data had been improperly obtained, we immediately deleted the raw data from our file server, and began the process of searching for and removing any of its derivatives in our system.— Cambridge Analytica (@CamAnalytica) April 4, 2018
Cambridge Analytica licensed data from GSR for 30 million individuals, not 87 million. We did not receive more than 30 million records from research company GSR.— Cambridge Analytica (@CamAnalytica) April 4, 2018
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has been called to testify before the US House Commerce Committee and will do so on Wednesday, 11 April.