Facebook: How to find out if Cambridge Analytica used your personal data

Alerts will pop up for all users that have been affected

Anthony Cuthbertson
Monday 09 April 2018 12:08
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Mark Zuckerberg admits ‘my mistake’ as 87m Facebook users could have seen data accessed by Cambridge Analytica

Facebook is set to inform the 87 million users whose personal data was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica for the purpose of political profiling.

The social network will send out alerts to users through their news feeds on Monday, 9 April, revealing whether or not they have been caught up in the scandal.

Facebook has previously revealed that users who took an online personality quiz called This Is Your Digital Life had their private information compromised. However, the company’s lax privacy settings meant that the friends of the users who took the quiz were also affected.

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer detailed last week how the UK-based data firm Cambridge Analytica used this personal data to target Facebook users with political ads during the 2016 US presidential elections and the UK’s referendum to leave the EU that same year.

How to know if your Facebook data was compromised?

Every Facebook user will receive either one of two messages on Monday. For around 97 per cent of Facebook's 2.2 billion users, the message will be a general announcement about how to see which third-party apps and websites are harvesting their data.

For the 87 million affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a more detailed alert explaining that their data has already been directly affected through the online quiz.

“We have banned the website ‘This Is Your Digital Life,” which one of your friends used Facebook to log into,” the Facebook alert, titled ‘Protecting Your Information’, states.

“We did this because the website may have misused some of your Facebook information by sharing it with a company called Cambridge Analytica.”

The alert also informs the user how to find out if other apps and websites have access to their Facebook information. It concludes: “There is more work to do, but we are committed to confronting abuse and to putting you in control of your privacy.”

Last week, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg revealed that the social network was aware Cambridge Analytica may have been mishandling users’ data two-and-a-half years ago but acted insufficiently to prevent it.

“We thought it had been deleted because [Cambridge Analytica] gave us assurances,” Ms Sandberg told NBC’s Today show. “But what we didn’t do was the next step of an audit and we’re trying to do that now.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will appear before Congress this week to answer questions surrounding data collection.

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