Facebook notified users on Monday that Cambridge Analytica may not only have had access to their personal profiles, but also the private messages they sent through the platform.
Wired reported that notifications went to Facebook users who either personally downloaded the quiz app “This Is Your Digital Life,” or had their friends do so, to inform them about the misuse of data, including possible access to the messages.
According to Facebook, as many as 87 million people worldwide (close to 71 million in the U.S.) may have had their data harvested through the app.
Anyone who used the app granted Cambridge access to their public profile including information such as their birthday, where they live, their networks and the pages they’ve liked on Facebook.
However, thanks to a Facebook design flaw, which the social media giant says was corrected in 2015, data from the friends of those who accessed the app also became available to Cambridge.
Additionally, some of those who downloaded the app gave Cambridge permission to access their Facebook messages.
Facebook disclosed in a notification to users this week, “A small number of people who logged into ‘This Is Your Digital Life’ also shared their own News Feed, timeline, posts and messages which may have included posts and messages from you.”
My personal information from Facebook got shared with Cambridge Analytica…
…not because of anything I did wrong, but because a FRIEND used a trash app.
Oh, fun. pic.twitter.com/b1nyTIlV3w
— Andrew Nathanson (@andrewnathanson) April 10, 2018
Facebook told Wired that a total of 1,500 users granted this permission. Anyone who received or sent messages to those affected people would potentially be impacted.
In addition to sending notifications to users regarding the overall data breach, Facebook has also set up a page titled “How can I tell if my info was shared with Cambridge Analytica?” where users can find out if they were impacted.
Those not believed to be affected will see the message “Based on our available records, neither you nor your friends logged into ‘This Is Your Digital Life,'” The Daily Mail reported.
Affected users who did not download the app receive a different message, indicating while they “don’t appear” to have logged into the app, “However, a friend of yours did log in.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated in his testimony before Congress on Wednesday that his company is making data privacy settings more prominent and user-friendly.
Referring to Europe’s General Data Privacy Regulation set to go into effect next month, Zuckerberg said it has many pieces, some of which the company is planning to implement worldwide.
“One is offering controls over — that we’re doing,” he said. “The second is around pushing for affirmative consent and putting a control in front of people that walks people through their choices. We’re going to do that, too. … We’re going to put a tool at the top of people’s apps that walks them through their settings.”
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