Facebook says data of as many as 87 million users may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica in an unauthorised manner – a lot more than previously estimated. Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer announced the latest numbers on Wednesday in a blog post.
The controversy emerged when it was revealed by Facebook that SCL and Cambridge Analytica had been suspended for violation Facebook policy. According to Facebook, the firm hadn’t deleted that data it received in 2015 from a developer. SCL had access to user data through a Facebook app called “thisisyourdigitallife” and the app was downloaded by by 270,000 people.
Cambridge Analytica is widely known for helping Donald Trump’s campaign in the US Presidential Election 2016.
After the scandal broke, there has been a growing skepticism around the safety of personal data on social media.
Personal data of 87 million accessed by Facebook
Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer made the revelation in a statement announcing the implementation of the social media company’s new privacy tools for users.
“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,” he said.
The new estimate could deepen the crisis for Facebook, which has been pressured by the disclosures on the hijacking of private data by the consulting group working for Donald Trump’s 2016.
Cambridge Analytica denies the claim
Cambridge Analytica refuted Facebook’s claim that up to 87 million users’ data had been accessed by the company. Cambridge Analytica confirmed “licensed data for no more than 30 million people” from Dr Aleksandr Kogan’s research company Global Science Research.
Cambridge Analytica also confirmed that none of the data used in US Presidential Elections 2016.
Today Facebook reported that information for up to 87 million people may have been improperly obtained by research company GSR. Cambridge Analytica licensed data for no more than 30 million people from GSR, as is clearly stated in our contract with the research company. We did not receive more data than this.
We did not use any GSR data in the work we did in the 2016 US presidential election.
Our contract with GSR stated that all data must be obtained legally, and this contract is now a matter of public record. We took legal action against GSR when we found out they had breached this contract.
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.
When Facebook sought further assurances a year ago, we carried out an internal audit to make sure that all the data, all derivatives, and all backups had been deleted, and gave Facebook a certificate to this effect.
We are now undertaking an independent third-party audit to demonstrate that no GSR data remains in our systems.