Facebook’s data privacy woes keep getting worse.
Following reports that the data of around 50 million users was harvested by Cambridge Analytica without proper permission, they have revealed that the number of affected users may be much higher than the original estimates.
In a blogpost, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer says that “up to 87 million” users were affected. The post is mainly about the new procedures Facebook says it will adopt to keep users’ data protected – including plans to restrict access to data on the platform – and the new figure seems to have been included as an afterthought, but it’s damning information nonetheless.
The silver lining for local Facebook users is that it seems most of the users affected are in the USA, Indonesia, UK and the Philippines.
That’s not to say that South Africans aren’t vulnerable; recent reports have Facebook suggesting that the data from 2 billion users could have been scraped by malicious parties. Facebook said that a tool that allowed allowed users to search for friends using either their phone number or their email address has now been removed.
“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, so we have now disabled this feature,” Facebook said in a statement.
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