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Total 87 million users affected by Cambridge Analytica Scandal – Facebook

Facebook changes its privacy policy and reveals a total of 87 million users affected by Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook Cambridge Analytica

Facebook reveals that twice as many users had their data collected by data firm Cambridge Analytica as estimated earlier. The social media giant has come up with some alterations in its security and privacy policies to fully secure users’ data.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica had been under the heat by U.S lawmakers after Cambridge Analytica was accused of abusing Facebook’s privacy policy by improperly obtaining and then misusing the data of some 50 million users (previous estimate) to sway the 2016 U.S presidential elections.

Cambridge Analytica had been linked to President Donald Trump’s campaign for 2016 presidential elections. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckeberg admitted that his team did leave some holes in users’ data privacy policies that enabled Cambridge Analytica to use data from 50 million Facebook users.

Well on Wednesday, Facebook increased the number of affected users making it up to 87 million. Facebook has also changed its data policies in order to avoid such events from happening in the future.

The update was announced by Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer in a long blogpost on Wednesday. His post outlined the restriction on third party developers from accessing users’ data and other minor security measures like deleting one year old phone calls and text information.

The move comes as a part of the multistep effort Facebook is doing to repair its dwindled reputation and fix its image with politicians, lawmakers and most importantly users.

As part of the latest security changes, Facebook will end the feature from its social platform that lets people to search for a profile using a phone number or an email address.

“Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way,” Schroepfer said in his post. “So we have now disabled this feature.”

The biggest issue or the thing that caused the problem in the first place is users’ data being accessible to third party developers. Facebook says the third party apps and developers will no longer be allowed to use Groups API to access the member lists for groups or personal info attached to posts in those groups and they will be restricted to use the Events API to access public events like concerts or other gatherings.

“Apps will no longer be able to access the member list of a group. And we’re also removing personal information, such as names and profile photos, attached to posts or comments that approved apps can access,” writes Schroepfer.

“Only apps we approve that agree to strict requirements will be allowed to use the Events API,” he added.

Facebook is also restricting these thirds party apps from using Pages API to access Facebook pages and read posts and comments.

Moreover Facebook says that it will cut off app access after three months of user inactivity. Apps will no longer be allowed to ask users’ for their opinions on religious, political, educational and personal matters.

“In the next week, we will remove a developer’s ability to request data people shared with them if it appears they have not used the app in the last three months,” Schroepfer wrote in the post.

“We will also no longer allow apps to ask for access to personal information such as religious or political views, relationship status and details, custom friends lists, education and work history, fitness activity, book reading activity, music listening activity, news reading, video watch activity, and games activity,” he said further.

The changes don’t stop here. Facebook is also restricting the Instagram API to disable the collection of users’ friends, relationships and comment on public posts. The Instagram API was scheduled to be shut down on 31st July however Facebook is shutting it down ahead of the given deadline.

After the growing concern over Facebook’s ability to scrape communication logs, the social media giant is also altering its opt-in call and messages history feature on Messenger and Facebook Lite on Android. From now on, all logs will be deleted from the platforms after one year. And the feature that analyzed a user’s communication with others to place the frequently contacted accounts higher on their contact list is also being restricted. According to Facebook, only the data required to enable the feature will be collected.

“the client will only upload to our servers the information needed to offer this feature — not broader data such as the time of calls,” Schroepfer wrote.

Last but not least, Facebook also said that it will notify the users who got their data used by Cambridge Analytica and will also allow all the users to see what information they are sharing with third party apps by going to a link that will present at the top of News Feed from 9th April.

Read Also: Facebook CEO Apologizes For Cambridge Analytica Scandal


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