Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal affected up to 87M Facebook users, company says

As many as 87 million Facebook users are believed to have had their information inappropriately shared with consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said Wednesday in a blog post.

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The number is far above the initial estimate that 50 million users were affected by the data breach.

“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,” Schroepfer said. The company on Wednesday announced several measures aimed at limiting the information available to app developers and clarifying privacy settings to users.

Facebook is facing its worst privacy scandal in years following allegations that Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-affiliated data mining firm, used ill-gotten data from millions of users to try to influence elections.

Staring April 9, Facebook users will see a link at the top of their news feeds showing what apps they use and what information they’ve shared with those apps. Users will be able to remove any apps that they no longer want.

“As part of this process we will also tell people if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica,” Schroepfer said.

Facebook is restricting access that apps can get about users' events, as well as information about groups such as member lists and content. In addition, the company is also removing the option to search for users by entering a phone number or an email address. While this helped individuals find friends, Facebook says businesses that had phone or email information on customers were able to collect profile information this way.

Earlier Wednesday, Facebook unveiled a new privacy policy that seeks to clarify its data collection and use.

Lawmakers announced Wednesday that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had agreed to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to testify about Facebook’s use and protection of user data. The Federal Trade Commission also confirmed last month that it was investigating the company’s privacy practices.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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