Social media giant Facebook on Wednesday stated that the personal data of nearly 87 million users may have been ‘improperly shared’ with political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica. This is significantly higher than previously assumed 50 million number as per media reports.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call to news reporters that though Facebook has not seen any ‘meaningful impact’ on usage and ad sales of his company after the data breach, he thinks it is not good if people are not happy about it.
He added that he accepts the blame for the data breach which has irked lawmakers, advertisers and ultimately users and asserted that he still is the right person to lead the company. He stated, “when you’re building something like Facebook that is unprecedented in the world, there are going to be things that you mess up” and insisted it is important to learn from mistakes.
Refuting rumours that the board of directors want him to step down, Zuckerberg added that it would be a challenge because he is the controlling shareholder. He denied firing anyone over the scandal.
Facebook had acknowledged that the personal data of millions of users had ended up with Cambridge Analytica and he is scheduled to testify at a Congressional hearing in the United States next week.
According to reports, Facebook, in a blog post by CTO Mike Schroepfer, stated that the personal data of about 562,455 Indians might have been compromised by Cambridge Analytica.
UK based firm Cambridge Analytica had been in the middle of a global scandal after the news broke that it had used millions of Facebook users’ personal information for targeted political campaigns. US President Donald Trump’s campaign was managed by CA and the Indian National Congress was also reportedly one of its clients.
The Congress party has been in denial mode over its alleged hiring of CA and the allegations of using voter’s personal data to expose social and demographical fault lines to strategise its poll campaign. But several shreds of evidence have emerged showing that it has been in business with the firm.
Chris Wylie, former director of research at CA had blown the lid over the data breach scandal and had even named Congress in a deposition before British lawmakers.
In a disposition to UK House of Commons, Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower in Cambridge Analytica case, names Rahul Gandhi’s Congress as one of Analytica’s clients in India. Will Rahul answer what was discussed with Alexander Nix and how much data of Indians has been stolen? pic.twitter.com/s3V81GO5zd
— Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) March 27, 2018
Facebook was severely criticised worldwide for failing to protect user data and its shares have fallen more than 16% in the United States so far. The company stated that it is in the process of making technological changes to avoid leakage of data to third-party applications developers.
The Government of India has sent a notice to Facebook to provide details on the data of Indian users leaked to CA and whether the data might have been used to manipulate the electoral process. The government has set the deadline until April 7th for Facebook to come up with answers.