The number of users hit by the Cambridge Analytica data leak is getting bigger: Facebook announced on Wednesday that 87 million users unknowingly had their information accessed by Cambridge Analytica in 2014 — a jump from the 50 million users originally believed to have been hit.
Most of the users were in the U.S., the company said in a blog post.
The updated figure came at the bottom of a note from Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer, in which he outlined several steps Facebook is taking to restrict data access moving forward. Apps will now need Facebook approval, along with the green light from administrators, to access information from closed groups on the platform. Previously, apps just needed administrator approval.
“Apps will no longer be able to access the member list of a group,” said Schroepfer. “And we’re also removing personal information, such as names and profile photos, attached to posts or comments that approved apps can access.”
Facebook is also tightening access to pages, requiring apps to get approval from the company before pulling info.
The social network was criticized last week for tracking user phone calls, as well as their length, date, and time. Facebook said it used call information to better connect its users on the platform. On Wednesday, Schroepfer said the company reviewed the practice and would scale back its tracking of call times.
“We’ve reviewed this feature to confirm that Facebook does not collect the content of messages — and will delete all logs older than one year. In the future, the client will only upload to our servers the information needed to offer this feature — not broader data such as the time of calls.”
After taking a beating in the last three weeks, Facebook’s stock price didn’t take an immediate hit on Wednesday, with the company trading down about 1 percent to $154.50 a share. Shares had been trading at $185 a share prior to data leak being reported by the New York Times in March.
Facebook’s public mea culpa for the Cambridge Analytica leak will continue next week, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg heading to Washington, D.C. to testify in front of Congress.
6 Tech Giants Shaking Up News, From Jeff Bezos to Laurene Powell Jobs (Photos)
Tech leaders are increasingly intertwined with the news business. While some want to support old properties, one set out to destroy a new one. Here they are.
Jeff Bezos – Washington Post
The Amazon founder purchased the Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million in cash. President Trump has called the paper the “Amazon Washington Post.”
The Facebook co-founder purchased The New Republic in 2012, becoming executive chairman and publisher. However, he sold the venerable political magazine to Win McCormack in 2016, saying he "underestimated the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate."
The eBay founder is a well-known philanthropist who created First Look Media, a journalism venture behind The Intercept. Inspired by Edward Snowden's leaks. Omidyar teamed up with journalists Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras to launch the website “dedicated to the kind of reporting those disclosures required: fearless, adversarial journalism.”
The PayPal co-founder doesn’t own a news organization, but he makes this list because he essentially ended one -- Gawker -- proving once again the power of an angry billionaire. Thiel secretly bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s sex-tape lawsuit against Gawker Media because he was upset that the website once outed him as gay. Hogan won the defamation lawsuit against the site that sent its parent company into bankruptcy, and Gawker.com is no longer operating.
OK, so Facebook isn’t technically a news organization… yet. However, the company is preparing to launch its much-anticipated lineup of original content later this summer, and there are also signs that it's on the verge of becoming an even bigger media platform.
Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships at Facebook, confirmed last week it’s developing a subscription service for publishers willing to post articles directly to Facebook Instant Articles, rather than their native websites.