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“In total, we believe the Facebook information of up to 87 million people — mostly in the US — may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica,” Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer wrote in a blog post.
The revelation was buried at the bottom of an update on how the company plans to protect user data. In the post, Facebook said it was add a notice on April 9 at the top of people’s News Feed alerting them if their information was obtained by political data firm Cambridge Analytica. It will appear alongside a link that will redirect users to a page where they can see which third-party apps are using their information. There, they can remove unwanted apps using the newly added bulk delete feature.
Facebook has been scrambling to protect its reputation after it was revealed that a third-party personality test app handed over the personal information of Facebook users to a firm working for President Donald Trump. While Zuckerberg prepares statements for his testimony before Congress, his beleaguered creation is adding new privacy features designed to give power back to users.
Earlier today, the company rewrote its Terms of Service and Data Use Policy to clarify how and why it collects and uses your data. While the language in the important documents was overhauled, Facebook is not expanding its right to collect, use, or share information, and the changes will not impact user settings.
The edits are similar to adjustments made to the Twitter rules in November, where the social network expanded or altered vague wording but didn’t change the underlying policies.
While the move is evidently a response to the Cambridge Analytica crisis, it also comes as the company prepares for the GDPR, a strict privacy law in Europe that requires social media platforms to be transparent and flexible.
The data policy draft is more than 4,000 words long and includes a number of new passages that highlight practices Facebook previously didn’t disclose. Facebook will collect feedback from the public for the next week and make adjustments before finalizing the new rules.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.