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April 09, 2018

Facebook to notify users impacted by Cambridge Analytica scandal

Messages will appear in users' news feeds

Social Media Facebook


Facebook will begin notifying users whose information may have been improperly shared with the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Beginning Monday, Facebook will notify 87 million users that may have been impacted by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Those users will receive a detailed message in their news feeds.

Additionally, all Facebook users will receive a message that lists the third-party apps they use and the information that they have shared with those apps. It will enable users to remove any unwanted apps.

But users impacted by the Cambridge Analytica scandal also will receive the following message:

We have banned the website "This Is Your Digital Life," which one of your friends used Facebook to log into. We did this because the website may have misused some of your Facebook information by sharing it with a company called Cambridge Analytica.

You can learn more about what happened and how you can remove other apps and websites anytime if you no longer want them to have access to your Facebook information.

More than 70 million of the impacted users reside in the United States, according to Facebook. Elsewhere around the world, the Philippines, Indonesia and the United Kingdom each have more than 1 million people affected.

Cambridge Analytica, which did political consulting work for Donald Trump's campaign, says it only received the data of 30 million Facebook users and did not use any of that information in the 2016 presidential election.

The consulting firm says it took legal action against "This Is Your Digital Life," a third-party app, after it learned the information had been illegally obtained. 

"When Facebook contacted us to let us know the data had been improperly obtained, we immediately deleted the raw data from our file server, and began the process of searching for and removing any of its derivatives in our system," Cambridge Analytica said in a statement last week.

"This Is Your Digital Life" was a personality quiz created by researcher Aleksander Kogan, who paid some 270,000 people to take it. The third-party app not only took the data of its users, but also obtained private information from their Facebook friends.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted he made a "huge mistake" by not imposing greater restrictions on how third-party apps could use data. He will testify before two Congressional committes later this week.