Facebook says Cambridge Analytica may have collected data on up to 87M people

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Cambridge Analytica may have harvested the personal data of up to 87 million Facebook users, Facebook's CTO said on Wednesday, a number far higher than original media estimates.




Most of the affected people -- over 70 million -- were in the U.S., Mike Schroepfer wrote in an official blog post, discussing plans to limit the data accessible by third-party apps. This includes more restrictions on what developers can request through Facebook logins, and what's accessible through Events, Groups, and Pages APIs.

Initial reports from March pegged Cambridge Analytica's data trove at about 50 million users. The political consulting firm abused Facebook's 2014 privacy policies to scrape data on the non-consenting friends of people who used a particular research app. While Facebook later tightened its policies, Cambridge Analytica was able to build "psychographic" profiles of U.S. voters that did not opt-in to the company's data collection.

The fallout from the revelations has been severe, not just for Cambridge Analytica but for Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The company's stock has taken a beating, and executives have been put on the defensive. Zuckerberg is set to testify in front of the U.S. Congress next week.

The situation has even prompted a minor war of words between Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

"The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer -- if our customer was our product," Cook said recently, adding that he would never find himself in Zuckerberg's shoes. Apple has regularly positioned itself as a pro-privacy company, famously resisting Justice Department demands for a backdoor into iOS, though it has complied with the authoritarian Chinese government on matters of censorship and localizing iCloud data.

"You know, I find that argument, that if you're not paying that somehow we can't care about you, to be extremely glib," Zuckerberg responded through a Vox interview. He argued that to build a service "which is not just serving rich people," a free ad-based model is essential.

"I don't think at all that that means that we don't care about people. To the contrary, I think it's important that we don't all get Stockholm Syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you. Because that sounds ridiculous to me," he continued.

In a Twitter post, Cambridge Analytica has denied the scope alleged by Facebook.

"Cambridge Analytica licensed data from GSR for 30 million individuals, not 87 million," the firm wrote. "We did not receive more than 30 million records from research company GSR."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,021member
    Wow.
    Keep on using Facebook guys.
    lordjohnwhorfincornchip
  • Reply 2 of 26
    This will have a negligible effect on Facebook users. Most of them will continue to use it and not care. There’s plenty of fake outrage from Facebook users, but how many have actually deleted their account? I know people who claim to barely use Facebook and claim they can leave at anytime and it won’t matter to them, but they haven’t left yet. And my guess is they won’t. 

    This is news doesn’t seem to matter. 
    SpamSandwichcornchipwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 26
    This will have a negligible effect on Facebook users. Most of them will continue to use it and not care. There’s plenty of fake outrage from Facebook users, but how many have actually deleted their account? I know people who claim to barely use Facebook and claim they can leave at anytime and it won’t matter to them, but they haven’t left yet. And my guess is they won’t. 

    This is news doesn’t seem to matter. 
    Sadly, looking around at all the people I know I can only concur with your observation. I deleted my account years ago, but most of my friends rely too much on it to keep tabs on each other and look at baby pictures and what have you, that they're willing to put up with the invasion of privacy. I guess we get what we deserve.
    racerhomie3cornchipwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 26
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,501member
    Wow.
    Keep on using Facebook guys.
    I took the liberty a few weeks ago to download my entire Facebook activity to see what the big deal is.  I'm a fairly heavy user of Facebook for nine years so I was really curious to see what "personal" information was out there.

    It's entrenched in the user settings, but one can download "everything" about you to maintain transparency.  I was actually surprised as to what was in there that would concern me.  Nothing.  Seriously... a lot of was data about what I did on FB, what I liked, the sites/ads I interacted with, etc... 

    There was no "personal" information that would necessarily concern me.  Equifax was by far, much more damaging than anything Facebook has on me.

    The FB data on me was junk.  Seriously.  If people are up in arms about this kind of data, then people have way too much time on their hands.  The fact that FB makes money on this kind of data was more surprising to me than anything else. 

    Typical media and political witch hunt as far as I'm concerned.  

    People and the feds should be much more harsh with Equifax as that data can genuinely cause damage to my financial life.  If people want to know that I liked a George Takei post, go right ahead.
    edited April 2018 StrangeDaysgatorguydewmepscooter63[Deleted User]muthuk_vanalingamcornchipjony0
  • Reply 5 of 26
    wwchriswwchris Posts: 53member
    I have zero outrage over this. I honestly don't even understand how it is a story.
    You are on Facebook. They collect your data (especially when you agree) and they target ads at you. That is what they do.
    People are worked up because the ads were political. It's not like they stole your money. Facebook is free. Ignore the ads if you don't like them.
    Are people angry on the behalf of people whose opinions are swayed but didn't know it? So what, same thing happens every time you see a politician speak or put and ad on TV. And they all have spin and god knows almost none of it is based in fact.
    Who cares? All sides have been targeting people this way for a long time.
    Ok, they gathered data that, only some of which was supposed to be shared and used it to put an ad in your feed. It's not like they were giving away your credit card data. Hell, Google scrubs my personal email for keywords to target ads and that seems way more intrusive.
    Ignore the ads and move on with your life.
    I do it everyday on Facebook.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,347administrator
    wwchris said:
    I have zero outrage over this. I honestly don't even understand how it is a story.
    You are on Facebook. They collect your data (especially when you agree) and they target ads at you. That is what they do.
    People are worked up because the ads were political. It's not like they stole your money. Facebook is free. Ignore the ads if you don't like them.
    Are people angry on the behalf of people whose opinions are swayed but didn't know it? So what, same thing happens every time you see a politician speak or put and ad on TV. And they all have spin and god knows almost none of it is based in fact.
    Who cares? All sides have been targeting people this way for a long time.
    Ok, they gathered data that, only some of which was supposed to be shared and used it to put an ad in your feed. It's not like they were giving away your credit card data. Hell, Google scrubs my personal email for keywords to target ads and that seems way more intrusive.
    Ignore the ads and move on with your life.
    I do it everyday on Facebook.
    It is a story because 300,000 people took the test. The testers then sucked up 87 million more records without permission associated with the 300,000 that agreed to take the test.
    edited April 2018 StrangeDayspscooter63chasmbadmonkcornchipjony0
  • Reply 7 of 26
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,347administrator
    We moderated several comments in this thread already. We didn't make it political, and neither will you.

    Please review the commenting guidelines if you can't see your post.
    chasmbadmonk
  • Reply 8 of 26
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,860member
    wwchris said:
    I have zero outrage over this. I honestly don't even understand how it is a story.
    You are on Facebook. They collect your data (especially when you agree) and they target ads at you. That is what they do.
    People are worked up because the ads were political. It's not like they stole your money. Facebook is free. Ignore the ads if you don't like them.
    Are people angry on the behalf of people whose opinions are swayed but didn't know it? So what, same thing happens every time you see a politician speak or put and ad on TV. And they all have spin and god knows almost none of it is based in fact.
    Who cares? All sides have been targeting people this way for a long time.
    Ok, they gathered data that, only some of which was supposed to be shared and used it to put an ad in your feed. It's not like they were giving away your credit card data. Hell, Google scrubs my personal email for keywords to target ads and that seems way more intrusive.
    Ignore the ads and move on with your life.
    I do it everyday on Facebook.
    It is a story because 300,000 people took the test. The testers then sucked up 87 million more records without permission associated with the 300,000 that agreed to take the test.
    Hasn't it basically been possible to slurp up this kind of data if a firm was willing to pay Facebook for it? I believe marketing firms pay for and collect this kind of data all the time. Besides, this wasn't information like Social Security numbers, phone numbers, dates of birth, etc., as was the case in the Equifax datatastrophe.
    edited April 2018 cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 26
    irelandireland Posts: 17,549member
    Hate to break it to you Mike, but this subject matter has huge political implications. If you don’t want political comments then turn off the comments for highly politically charged matters.
    SpamSandwichcornchip
  • Reply 10 of 26
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,347administrator
    ireland said:
    Hate to break it to you Mike, but this subject matter has huge political implications. If you don’t want political comments then turn off the comments for highly politically charged matters.
    I understand what you're saying, but it took four comments for the name-calling to begin, for no other reason than X IS BETTER THAN Y HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT.

    This is 100% about Facebook's laissez-faire attitude towards the data, and Cambridge Analytica's misuse of it. It literally does not matter which party used the data.
    edited April 2018 chasmwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 26
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,860member
    ireland said:
    Hate to break it to you Mike, but this subject matter has huge political implications. If you don’t want political comments then turn off the comments for highly politically charged matters.
    I understand what you're saying, but it took four comments for the name-calling to begin, for no other reason than X IS BETTER THAN Y HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT.

    This is 100% about Facebook's laissez-faire attitude towards the data, and Cambridge Analytica's misuse of it. It literally does not matter which party used the data.

     Not trying to antagonize anyone here, Mike but use of the term "laissez faire" in this context I find humorously ironic.

    Definition:  "abstention by governments from interfering in the workings of the free market"
  • Reply 12 of 26
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,347administrator
    ireland said:
    Hate to break it to you Mike, but this subject matter has huge political implications. If you don’t want political comments then turn off the comments for highly politically charged matters.
    I understand what you're saying, but it took four comments for the name-calling to begin, for no other reason than X IS BETTER THAN Y HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT.

    This is 100% about Facebook's laissez-faire attitude towards the data, and Cambridge Analytica's misuse of it. It literally does not matter which party used the data.

     Not trying to antagonize anyone here, Mike but use of the term "laissez faire" in this context I find humorously ironic.

    Definition:  "abstention by governments from interfering in the workings of the free market"
    Not unintentional.
  • Reply 13 of 26
    wwchriswwchris Posts: 53member
    It is a story because 300,000 people took the test. The testers then sucked up 87 million more records without permission associated with the 300,000 that agreed to take the test.
    Totally understand that element of it, but actually, much of that 87 million was gathered because your friends agreed to let the app see friends. So, 300,000 people with 290 friends each takes care of it. Most of the data gathered was not "secret" it was literally just that facebook information to target a "conservative friend of a friend". Some of the data was gathered under and old Facebook policy with Facebook doing nothing wrong (since the terms were clear) but the research institution shared that info against Facebook's "policies". How could Facebook have known their policies were being violated?

    Definitely shouldn't have happened. But the question I'm asking is, what was the harm done here? So your friends got targeted with some different ads than the other targeted ads facebook would have alternatively sent you? You were still going to get Facebook ads in those "slots". And even more ironic is that the ads were probably perfectly suited to the people getting them.

    I'll give you a far worse example, I once used TrueGreen for lawn service. I am now on their calling list. For the first two years after I cancelled my service (and continued to a lesser degree since), they called me probably 3 times a week on my cell phone during work hours. I have asked to be removed from their list but they kept calling. All from different phone numbers so they couldn't be blocked. Now THAT is a violation of privacy and intrusive. Barring trying to sue them at great personal expense, I don't see how I could make that stop. I'm sure they have done this to millions of people. Why is nobody up in arms about something like that? It's far worse than the Facebook situation. I wish Truegreen had been showing me facebook ads, because 1. I could have ignored them and 2. I could have said, don't show me ads like this again.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,347administrator
    wwchris said:
    It is a story because 300,000 people took the test. The testers then sucked up 87 million more records without permission associated with the 300,000 that agreed to take the test.
    Totally understand that element of it, but actually, much of that 87 million was gathered because your friends agreed to let the app see friends. So, 300,000 people with 290 friends each takes care of it. Most of the data gathered was not "secret" it was literally just that facebook information to target a "conservative friend of a friend". Some of the data was gathered under and old Facebook policy with Facebook doing nothing wrong (since the terms were clear) but the research institution shared that info against Facebook's "policies". How could Facebook have known their policies were being violated?

    Definitely shouldn't have happened. But the question I'm asking is, what was the harm done here? So your friends got targeted with some different ads than the other targeted ads facebook would have alternatively sent you? You were still going to get Facebook ads in those "slots". And even more ironic is that the ads were probably perfectly suited to the people getting them.

    I'll give you a far worse example, I once used TrueGreen for lawn service. I am now on their calling list. For the first two years after I cancelled my service (and continued to a lesser degree since), they called me probably 3 times a week on my cell phone during work hours. I have asked to be removed from their list but they kept calling. All from different phone numbers so they couldn't be blocked. Now THAT is a violation of privacy and intrusive. Barring trying to sue them at great personal expense, I don't see how I could make that stop. I'm sure they have done this to millions of people. Why is nobody up in arms about something like that? It's far worse than the Facebook situation. I wish Truegreen had been showing me facebook ads, because 1. I could have ignored them and 2. I could have said, don't show me ads like this again.
    Well, if your neighbor used Lawn Company X, and Lawn Company X decided to take it upon themselves to harvest personal data and call 290 of your neighbors without them having used the service, then there would be equivalency.

    Each his own. It's great that it doesn't bother you.
    edited April 2018 MplsP
  • Reply 15 of 26
    wwchris said:
    It is a story because 300,000 people took the test. The testers then sucked up 87 million more records without permission associated with the 300,000 that agreed to take the test.
    Totally understand that element of it, but actually, much of that 87 million was gathered because your friends agreed to let the app see friends. So, 300,000 people with 290 friends each takes care of it. Most of the data gathered was not "secret" it was literally just that facebook information to target a "conservative friend of a friend". Some of the data was gathered under and old Facebook policy with Facebook doing nothing wrong (since the terms were clear) but the research institution shared that info against Facebook's "policies". How could Facebook have known their policies were being violated?

    Definitely shouldn't have happened. But the question I'm asking is, what was the harm done here? So your friends got targeted with some different ads than the other targeted ads facebook would have alternatively sent you? You were still going to get Facebook ads in those "slots". And even more ironic is that the ads were probably perfectly suited to the people getting them.

    I'll give you a far worse example, I once used TrueGreen for lawn service. I am now on their calling list. For the first two years after I cancelled my service (and continued to a lesser degree since), they called me probably 3 times a week on my cell phone during work hours. I have asked to be removed from their list but they kept calling. All from different phone numbers so they couldn't be blocked. Now THAT is a violation of privacy and intrusive. Barring trying to sue them at great personal expense, I don't see how I could make that stop. I'm sure they have done this to millions of people. Why is nobody up in arms about something like that? It's far worse than the Facebook situation. I wish Truegreen had been showing me facebook ads, because 1. I could have ignored them and 2. I could have said, don't show me ads like this again.
    Allow your lawn to go without any maintenance so it looks really bad. Then get one of their lawn signs that says your lawn is maintained by them. When they complain, tell them to take you off their list.
    badmonkcornchip
  • Reply 16 of 26
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 418member
    In reality it gets even worse for facebook (the article mentions that facebook's 2 billion users are affected):

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-04/facebook-says-data-on-87-million-people-may-have-been-shared
    edited April 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 26
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    This will have a negligible effect on Facebook users. Most of them will continue to use it and not care. There’s plenty of fake outrage from Facebook users, but how many have actually deleted their account? I know people who claim to barely use Facebook and claim they can leave at anytime and it won’t matter to them, but they haven’t left yet. And my guess is they won’t. 

    This is news doesn’t seem to matter. 
    It matters to FB cause they're going to face  lot of shit in the EU and UK and likely a myriad of different law suits from investors, governments and users.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 26

    It really is a company run by vampires. I've may have missed the mention of the controversial 2016 memo by a FaceBook VP on AI, but that memo is probably something that should make people aware of what the real cost of using FB is.


    Connected, yes, but at what cost?

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 26
    kimberlykimberly Posts: 203member
    wwchris said:
    It is a story because 300,000 people took the test. The testers then sucked up 87 million more records without permission associated with the 300,000 that agreed to take the test.
    Totally understand that element of it, but actually, much of that 87 million was gathered because your friends agreed to let the app see friends. So, 300,000 people with 290 friends each takes care of it. Most of the data gathered was not "secret" it was literally just that facebook information to target a "conservative friend of a friend". Some of the data was gathered under and old Facebook policy with Facebook doing nothing wrong (since the terms were clear) but the research institution shared that info against Facebook's "policies". How could Facebook have known their policies were being violated?

    Definitely shouldn't have happened. But the question I'm asking is, what was the harm done here? So your friends got targeted with some different ads than the other targeted ads facebook would have alternatively sent you? You were still going to get Facebook ads in those "slots". And even more ironic is that the ads were probably perfectly suited to the people getting them.

    I'll give you a far worse example, I once used TrueGreen for lawn service. I am now on their calling list. For the first two years after I cancelled my service (and continued to a lesser degree since), they called me probably 3 times a week on my cell phone during work hours. I have asked to be removed from their list but they kept calling. All from different phone numbers so they couldn't be blocked. Now THAT is a violation of privacy and intrusive. Barring trying to sue them at great personal expense, I don't see how I could make that stop. I'm sure they have done this to millions of people. Why is nobody up in arms about something like that? It's far worse than the Facebook situation. I wish Truegreen had been showing me facebook ads, because 1. I could have ignored them and 2. I could have said, don't show me ads like this again.
    Allow your lawn to go without any maintenance so it looks really bad. Then get one of their lawn signs that says your lawn is maintained by them. When they complain, tell them to take you off their list.
    I like that idea :smile: 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 26
    kimberlykimberly Posts: 203member
    Worth reading "Facebook's business model is incompatible with human rights" http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-03/facebook-business-model-human-rights-privacy/9605346 but it is an opinion piece at the end of the day.  I use Facebook to stay in touch (mostly share photos) with my siblings and close friends who live far away.  I would use Instagram but that is owned by Facebook.  I absolutely loath Facebook but not for privacy reasons (I don't do political or religious posts etc) but because I have contempt for a product in which the Newsfeed contents vary according to whether one is using Safari on an iMac or the Facebook app on IOS ... I mean how hard is it to synchronise between devices in 2018 and have it look the same?  Absolute %$#@ front-end.  BTW what other alternatives are out there? 
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