Facebook says 87M may be affected by data breach

By AFP April 05,2018

Facebook has deleted accounts linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, which has been accused of spreading misinformation and propaganda /AFP

Facebook said Wednesday the personal data of up to 87 million users was improperly shared with British political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, as Mark Zuckerberg defended his leadership at the huge social network.

Facebook’s estimate was far higher than news reports suggesting 50 million users may have been affected in the privacy scandal which has roiled the company and sparked questions for the entire internet sector on data protection.

Zuckerberg told reporters on a conference call he accepted responsibility for the failure to protect user data but maintained that he was still the best person to lead the network of two billion users.

“I think life is about learning from the mistakes and figuring out how to move forward,” he said in response to a question on his ability to lead the company.

“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.”

Zuckerberg said 87 million was a high estimate of those affected by the breach, based on the maximum number of connections to users who downloaded an academic researcher’s quiz that scooped up personal profiles.

“I’m quite confident it will not be more than 87 million, it could well be less,” he said.

To remedy the problem, Zuckerberg said Facebook must “rethink our relationship with people across everything we do” and that it will take a number of years to regain user trust.

The new estimate came as Facebook unveiled clearer terms of service to enable users to better understand data sharing, and as a congressional panel said Zuckerberg would appear next week to address privacy issues.

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