Facebook Now Says Cambridge Analytica Accessed Data Of 87 Million Users

Facebook User Data

Facebook's chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer wrote a blog post outlining all the ways the world's largest social network intends to protect user data, including some key changes to various APIs that previously made it a bit too easy for third parties to collect personal information. Buried in the post, however, is an alarming update on how many users were affected by the Cambridge Analytical scandal—according to Schroepfer, the number now stands at 87 million.

"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," Schroepfer wrote.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the privacy flub last month, and explained that it began with a personality quiz app that was installed by around 300,000 users. Part of the reason why so many more users were ultimately affected is because the app sought permission to access people's contacts. Earlier estimates pegged the total number of users whose information was gathered at 50 million.

At the time this occurred, the data collection on behalf of the app was within Facebook's rules. Where things turned sour is when Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan turned around and shared all that data with Cambridge Analystica, a political data and consultation agency with ties to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Facebook is now under fire for putting in place mechanisms that could allow this to happen. In the wake of it all, Facebook has been changing its APIs and policies, implementing tighter safeguards on user data. For example, one of the changes outlined in the blog post is that users can no longer grant an app permission to retrieve information about events they host or attend, including private events.

Hit the source link for the full list of changes, and be diligent in protecting your information, folks.