Personal information of about 87 million users, mostly in the US, may have been improperly shared with the UK-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, Facebook has said as it announced a slew of measures to address its users' privacy concerns. Over half a million of the users whose personal data might have been compromised are from India. This is a much larger figure than the previously believed 50 million users of Facebook whose personal data was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook is facing a severe crisis of credibility ever since the news broke out that it improperly shared personal information of its users that was used for political purposes. "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," Mike Schroepfer, chief technology officer (CTO), Facebook, said yesterday as he updated users on the changes the social network is making to better protect their information.
India ranks seventh in the number of users affected
As per a table of compromised users, most of the personal information that may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica are from the US 70.8 million or 81 per cent. Indonesia and the United Kingdom stand a distant second with 1.1 million users' data being compromised. India ranks seventh wherein information of 562,455 of its users may have been compromised.
Changes to be made in App usage
Schroepfer said until now, people could grant an app permission to get information about events they host or attend, including private events. This made it easy to add Facebook Events to the calendar, ticketing or other apps.
"But Facebook Events have information about other people's attendance as well as posts on the event wall, so it's important that we ensure apps use their access appropriately. Starting today, apps using the API will no longer be able to access the guest list or posts on the event wall. And in the future, only apps we approve that agree to strict requirements will be allowed to use the Events API," he wrote in a lengthy post. You can access the full post here.
Focus on Indian Elections
Facebook has deployed technology tools like artificial intelligence and thousands of people to work on security as the company's "major focus" this year is to protect the integrity of upcoming elections in several countries, including India, on its platform, its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said. Terming 2018 a "big year" for elections, Zuckerberg said Facebook was enhancing its security features to prevent trolls from spreading information. The social media giant has been slammed over a major data breach scandal by Cambridge Analytica, a British firm linked to Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
"This is going to be a big year for elections ahead with the US midterms and elections in India, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Hungary and others. This is going to be a major focus for us," said Zuckerberg in a press conference meet. Several Indian states like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are scheduled to go for polls this year and the general elections are due in a little over a year from now.