Facebook is set to warn 87 million users, located primarily in the United States, that their data could have been shared with British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
In an announcement, Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer confirmed that up to 87 million users may be impacted, a significantly higher number than the 50 million first reported by the New York Times.
“We didn’t take a broad enough view on what our responsibility was and that was a huge mistake. That was my mistake,” Mark Zuckerberg said during a conference call shortly after the post was published. When asked if anyone had been fired over the data scandal, the CEO reportedly replied: “I started this place, I run it, I’m responsible for what happens here. I’m going to do the best job I can going forward. I’m not looking to throw anyone under the bus for mistakes I’ve made.”
The revelation comes amid an ongoing scandal that involves a breach of data privacy after a developer named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan used the platform to administer a personality test app that gathered data about participants and their friends. The data was then siphoned to Cambridge Analytica where it is alleged to have been leveraged to optimize political campaigns, including the 2016 US presidential elections.
Facebook’s CTO confirmed sweeping changes coming to the platform in the way third-party developers can interact with the social media giant via APIs. Developers will no longer be allowed to access the guest list or wall posts of an event listed on Facebook. Developers will first need to gain permission from a group administrator before seeking to access the data of group members.
“Starting today, Facebook will need to approve all apps that request access to information such as check-ins, likes, photos, posts, videos, events and groups,” Schroepfer wrote. “We started approving these permissions in 2014, but now we’re tightening our review process — requiring these apps to agree to strict requirements before they can access this data.”
Image credit: Pexels.
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