Facebook on Sunday said that it would contact 87 million users around the world who were affected by the Cambridge Analytica data breach, The Guardian reported. The firm said affected users would receive a message on their news feeds.
Over 70 million Facebook users whose data was shared with the analytics company reside in the United States, more than 10 million people each live in the United Kingdom, the Philippines and Indonesia, and 3,10,000 in Australia. The data of more than half a million Indian users has been compromised as well, the social media company told the Indian government last week.
The social media company has faced widespread criticism since it was revealed that it was aware that Cambridge Analytica had been harvesting the data of Facebook users for years. The British data analytics firm was initially accused of using the information of 50 million Facebook users to bolster US President Donald Trump’s campaign before the 2016 election. But on April 4 the social media company said that the breach had impacted 37 million more people.
Meanwhile, whistle-blower Christopher Wylie, who exposed the data breach, said the number of affected Facebook users could exceed 8.7 crore and that their data could be stored on servers in Russia, CNBC reported.
Wylie told the news channel: “I think that there is a genuine risk that this data has been accessed by quite a few people and it could be stored in various parts of the world, including Russia, given the fact that the professor who was managing the data harvesting process was going back and forth between the UK and Russia at the same time that he was working for Russian-funded projects on psychological profiling.”
Wylie was referring to University of Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan, whose app, built in 2013 and installed by 3 lakh people, harvested the Facebook data of its users and some of their friends’. In 2015, Facebook learnt that Kogan had passed on the data harvested by his app to Cambridge Analytica, and asked them both to delete it. They said they would comply, but, as it turned out, they did not.