In a shocking admission on a blog post published yesterday, April 4, Facebook admitted that Cambridge Analytica might have had access to the personal information and data of 87 million people, 37 million more than originally estimated. In the post, which focused largely on the changes the platform has made over the last couple of weeks to its data privacy policies and app permissions, Mike Schroepfer, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, wrote that the platform believed that “the Facebook information of up to 87 million people – mostly in the US – may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica”.
Mark is due to appear before the US Congress’s energy and commerce committee on April 11, in what might be only the first of multiple such appearances.
However, Facebook has also tried valiantly to rescue the situation. Since a post by Mark two weeks ago where he highlighted a three-point action plan to improve Facebook’s data policies, the platform has made a raft of changes. Mike’s blog post mentions nine key ones:
Facebook has insisted on denying that the Cambridge Analytica episode was a “data breach”. However, the revelation that a lot more users may have had their personal information compromised than was originally believed is unlikely to help Facebook restore confidence. For its part, Cambridge Analytica responded to this news in a press release, saying, “Today Facebook reported that information for up to 87 million people may have been improperly obtained by research company GSR [Global Science Research]. 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 are now undertaking an independent third-party audit to demonstrate that no GSR data remains in our systems.”