Thousands of Irish Facebook users affected by Cambridge Analytica breach

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5 April 2018 | 0

Facebook has admitted that 45,000 Irish users could have had their data compromised as part of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

A statement from the social network confirmed that 15 people downloaded the personality test app thisisyourdigitallife, which was used to gather data on people who filled out its questionnaire and their friends.

The app was responsible for giving Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan access to data from 87 million profiles worldwide, the majority in the US. The information was subsequently handed over to analytics firm Cambridge Analytica and used it to create psychological profiles used for ad targeting purposes. The firm was criticised for using this technique in the 2016 US presidential election, where then-candidate Donald Trump was backed by a Facebook ad campaign focusing on potential voters displaying certain psychological traits.

Having stayed silent on the Cambridge Analytica revelations for almost a week, Zuckerbeg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg have gone on a media blitz with Sandberg outlining new controls on a series of televised interviews.

Next week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will face questionning from US Congress. In the meantime where he defended his reaction to the scandal in a conference call with journalists, outlining a series of new privacy measures to make it easier for users to see what data they are making available to third party developers.

Zuckerberg maintained that he was equipped to lead the company forward, despite having downplayed the effect of ‘fake news’ and trolls farms like the Russia-based Internet Research Agency. He also said that no one has lost their job as a result of the scandal, saying: “I started this place, I run it, I’m responsible for what happens here.”

Zuckerberg also warned that many more users may have had their profiles scraped if they could be found on the site via an e-mail address or mobile phone number.

New protections
In terms of new protections, Facebook yesterday announced new measures it claimed would offer GDPR-level privacy without explicitly complying with the directive.

  • A blog post from chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer outlined the following changes:
  • Apps using the Events 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.
  • All third-party apps using the Groups API will need approval from Facebook and an admin to ensure they benefit the group. Apps will no longer be able to access the member list of a group. Personal information, such as names and profile photos, attached to posts or comments that approved apps can access can be removed.
  • Access to the Pages API will need to be approved by Facebook, preserving features like the ability to schedule posts while restricting access to extraneous data.
  • All apps that request access to information such as check-ins, likes, photos, posts, videos, events and groups will have to be approved by Facebook.
  • It was also confirmed that the site does not collect message content from calls and text mesages and committed to deleting meta data after one year.
  • From 9 April users will have the option to see what apps have access to their data and delete as they wish. Users will also be able to see if their data was collected by Cambridge Analytica.

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