Facebook on Thursday informed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that the data of more than five lakh Indian users have been compromised. The breach occurred after 335 Indian Facebook users downloaded an app owned by a company, which later sold the information to British firm Cambridge Analytica, The Print reported.
The app scraped information from the accounts of the 335 users of the thisisyourdigitallife app and then absorbed the data from their friends and friends of friends leading to a breach that has affected 5,62,120 users.
On Wednesday, Facebook had said that the data breach to British firm Cambridge Analytica had impacted 3.7 crore more people than earlier believed, with the total number of users affected now at a staggering 8.7 crore. Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer made the announcement shortly before the social media platform’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said that the company was updating its privacy features.
The previous estimate was based on an investigation conducted by The New York Times and Britain’s The Observer.
Facebook shared the information with the Indian government after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led administration ordered it to do so. It has not disclosed the identities of the users who downloaded the app, but said that it will inform all the Indian users who were affected by the breach.
Between November 2013 and December 2015, 335 Facebook users living in India installed the thisisyourdigitallife app, a Facebook India spokesperson has told ThePrint.
The social media company has been facing tremendous criticism after it was found that they were aware that Cambridge Analytica had been harvesting the data of Facebook users for years. Cambridge Analytica was initially accused of using the information of 50 million Facebook users to bolster US President Donald Trump’s campaign before the 2016 election.
The Indian government is yet to receive a reply from Cambridge Analytica to its queries on whether any data was used in any election campaign in India, The Print reported.