Facebook admitted today that 65,009 Facebook users in Singapore may have had their information “improperly shared” with British political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica. These accounts are among the up to 87 million Facebook accounts worldwide that have been affected by the unprecedented data breach that has gripped headlines around the world.
News broke last month that the data firm reportedly accessed information from about 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge nor authorisation. This number has climbed to up to 87 million accounts in recent days.
The data harvest occurred as around 270,000 people took a personality quiz online that gave a Cambridge University professor access to their data and their Facebook friends’ data. This information, which was initially collected for academic purposes according to Facebook, was later transferred to third parties in violation of Facebook policies.
One such third party who received this data was Cambridge Analytica, a firm which is known for exploring the usage of data to create “psychographics” in the electoral process. The data firm has asserted that it was misled as to what the source of the data was.
Singapore Facebook users make up less than 1 per cent of the total number of Facebook users who have been affected by the data breach around the world. More than 1 million users in the Philippines and Indonesia may been affected by the security lapse, elsewhere in Asia.
Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has accepted responsibility for the failure to protect user data. On his ability to continue leading the social media giant, Zuckerberg said:
“I think life is about learning from the mistakes and figuring out how to move forward … When you’re building something like Facebook which is unprecedented in the world, there are things that you’re going to mess up … What I think people should hold us accountable for is if we are learning from our mistakes.”
A new privacy tool, through which Facebook users can remove applications they no longer wish to use, is set to be launched by Monday. Developers’ ability to request data will also be curtailed as they will no longer be able to request data from users who have not used their app for three months.
Apps will also no longer be permitted to request access to users’ personal information like their relationship status and details, religious or political views, news reading, education and work history, and more.