Facebook: Data Breach Affected 87 Million Users

Facebook has quietly upped to 87 million the number of users whose personal data was compromised by Cambridge Analytica, a conservative London-based consulting firm with ties to the 2016 presidential election.

The social media behemoth previously admitted to 50 million users whose personal data was sold in violation to the company’s privacy rules. Cambridge Analytica contends it obtained data from “no more than 30 million people.”

Regardless, Facebook admits that “malicious actors” could have had access to the personal data of all 2 billion registered members. It buried the updated numbers in an April 4 blog, ironically titled “Our Plans to Restrict Data Access on Facebook.”

“Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way,” Michael Schroepfer, chief technology officer, wrote in the blog.

Schroepfer said effective immediately apps using Facebook’s various “application programing interfaces” (APIs) would no longer be able to access the guest list or posts without Facebook approval to “strict (third-party use) requirements.”

Facebook APIs include “events,” “groups,” “commentary” and Instagram pages – bedrock of the social media pioneer.

“We will also no longer allow apps to ask for access to personal information such as religious or political views, relationship status and details, custom-friends lists, education and work history, fitness activity, book reading activity, music listening activity, news reading, video watch activity, and games activity,” Schroepfer wrote.

Facebook will also remove a developer’s ability to request data people shared with them if it appears they have not used the app in the last 3 months.

Beginning April 9, Facebook will display to users a link at the top of their “news feed” identifying what apps they use – and information they have shared with those third-party apps.

Users will also be able to remove apps they no longer want. As part of this process Facebook will reveal to users if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg is slated to appear April 11 before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytica controversy.


MoviePass Looking to Avoid ‘Facebook’ Fallout

NEWS ANALYSIS — Movie theater subscription service MoviePass’ recent announcement offering first-time annual subscribers access for $6.95 a month – 30% below the standard $9.95 rate – underscores increasing consumer concern about data privacy.

CEO Mitch Lowe said the price cut is an attempt to make the moviegoing experience “easy and affordable” for everyone. Apparently, paying less than $10 monthly to watch one theatrical screening per day amounts to fiscal overreach for consumers.

Or could it be in reaction to Lowe’s loose lips at a recent industry event (first reported by Media Play News), dubbed, “Data is the New Oil: How Will MoviePass Monetize It?” in which he bragged about MoviePass tracking subscriber activities before and after screenings?

“We watch where you go afterwards,” he said without concern.

Of course, Lowe had no idea about the looming Facebook data tsunami and ensuing fallout after the social media behemoth admitted selling the personal data of 50 million subscribers to a foreign consulting firm with ties to the 2016 presidential election.

The debacle has reportedly cost Facebook more than $60 billion in market capitalization, scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission, calls for increased regulation and founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pending grilling before Congress.

Not to mention increasing public distrust how Internet giants Amazon, Google, Yahoo and others track user behavior and what they do with that information.

To be sure, Lowe rushed out an email to subscribers claiming his comments about MoviePass data mining had been mischaracterized.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter isn’t so sure.

“The media reaction since indicates that many do not believe it was a ‘mischaracterization,’ especially given Facebook’s recent debacle with Cambridge Analytica,” Pachter wrote in a March 26 note.

Indeed, MoviePass hasn’t explained what it does, or will do, with the subscriber data – other than market/leverage it to exhibitors for reduced ticket prices or a percentage of concession sales — a reality, Pachter contends, harbors ongoing concern about the service’s long-term viability.

“Additionally, we now harbor concerns about the potential for consumer backlash should [MoviePass] collect certain data without consent, or improperly use the data it collects,” he wrote.