Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, dropped a bombshell yesterday: Facebook might have “improperly shared” the data of up to 87 million people with Cambridge Analytica, the U.K.-based political consulting firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Schroepfer made the comment at the end of a lengthy post about the company’s new measures to protect users’ personal information.
Among those whose information was exposed to the consultancy, 81.6 percent — more than 70.6 million — were users in the U.S. Other countries whose residents’ data ended up in Cambridge Analytica’s hands included the Philippines (nearly 1.2 million), Indonesia (more than 1 million), the U.K. (over 1 million), and Mexico (close to 790,000).
Cambridge Analytica had already been widely recognized for its role in promoting Trump’s presidential campaign. However, several recent reports have revealed the extent to which the firm used the data of Facebook users without their knowledge to aim targeted ads and messages at likely Trump voters. Those reports have dramatically turned up the political and public opinion heat on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is scheduled to testify before multiple congressional committees next week.
Facebook To Tell People If Info Improperly Shared
Since dismissing criticisms about Facebook’s role in manipulating voters as “crazy” in late 2016, Zuckerberg has repeatedly been forced to acknowledge the extent to which the social media platform has enabled “digital warfare” through the vast amounts of data it gathers, stores, and shares about its users. Over the past month, news reports about improper data usage have led the company to announce a number of new policies, including changes to make privacy tools easier to use and new limitations on information shared with third-party apps and data brokers.
In his news post yesterday, Schroepfer listed nine other changes the company plans to make in…