BURIED LEDE

The Cambridge Analytica scandal affected nearly 40 million more people than we thought

Up to 87 million Facebook users’ personal data may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica—nearly 40 million more users than previously reported.

The revelation was buried deep in a lengthy update from Facebook today (April 4) about about its plans to restrict data access for third-party apps, like the one that siphoned off data for Cambridge Analytica, the UK political consultancy that advised the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

“Starting on Monday, April 9, we’ll show people a link at the top of their News Feed so they can see what apps they use—and the information they have shared with those apps,” Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer wrote. “As part of this process we will also tell people if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.”

“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.”

In March, The Observer and The New York Times reported that more than 50 million people were affected by the data breach, causing a worldwide scandal, sparking multiple investigations into Facebook’s practices, and calls for a boycott of the social network. It also caused some soul-searching on the part of the company.

The Facebook news release that contained the massive new number of affected users announced a number of significant changes to the way Facebook shares data on its users, more heavily restricting third-party apps access to information on events, Pages, groups and Instagram, among other updates. The company also said today that it has rewritten its terms of service to make them clearer, stipulating that Facebook was not granting apps any further permissions.

All of these developments are sure to be subject of congressional testimony by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, which is now set for April 11.


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