April 21, 2018

Facebook users to learn if they were part of privacy scandal

10 April 2018, 07:31 | Camille Rivera

Facebook scans your private Messenger conversations

Facebook Messenger with open padlock

"Facebook has promised that they are closing the loopholes that allowed that kind of data to be exposed".

Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who sits on both Senate committees, compared the scrutiny of Facebook's data-collection practices by Congress to the landmark 1960s exposé of the USA automobile industry that prompted lawmakers to introduce far-reaching safety regulations.

Zuckerberg is set to testify in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday. Facebook failed us. Not only did they fail to safeguard the personal information of millions of users, they concealed it from us - and this is not the first time the company mishandled user information. After the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Zuckerberg will return to the Capitol on Wednesday for another hearing on the other side of Capitol Hill before the House Commtitee on Energy and Commerce.

On Tuesday, the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, will be testifying before US lawmakers to explain what happened with the information harvested by Cambridge Analytica.

Reeling from its worst privacy crisis in history - allegations that this Trump-affiliated data mining firm may have used ill-gotten user data to try to influence elections - Facebook is in full damage-control mode.

Congress has released Zuckerberg's planned testimony, which can be summed up with his words: "We didn't do enough ..."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed contrition for allowing third-party apps to grab the data of its users without their permission and for being "too slow to spot and respond to Russian interference" during the United States election, according to his prepared remarks published by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Mark Zuckerberg is ready to apologise. The company is now informing users if their data has been compromised in Cambridge Analytica breach or not. "The customers are not the people using Facebook".

The testimony is Mr. Zuckerberg's first public appearance in front of lawmakers and is considered by many to be the most important test of his career since a 2012 initial public offering helped catapult Facebook into one of the world's more valuable and powerful companies. Mr. Zuckerberg is nearly sure to be asked why it took a whistleblower to reveal the problem. The CEO recounts the various investigations and updates Facebook had undertaken in recent weeks, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

A Facebook spokesperson said a possible breach of data of 562,455 users happened after 335 Facebook users in India installed a quiz app, "thisisyourdigitallife" between November 2013 and December 2015.

At the heart of this initiative will be a group of scholars who will define the research agenda; solicit proposals for independent research on a range of different topics; and manage a peer-review process to select scholars who will receive funding for their research -- as well as access to privacy-protected datasets from Facebook which they can analyse. Associated Press reporters around the world have been surveying users, none of whom have reported seeing anything from Facebook. Any research can then be shared with the public without Facebook's permission. Facebook also announced that it has banned another data analytics firm called CubeYou for improper handling of users' data that they received from personality quizzes.

The flurry of activity highlights Facebook's rush to get its house in order before Zuckerberg's high-stakes debut testifying on Capitol Hill this week.

Technology industry officials said they also expected Zuckerberg's testimony to be long on political point scoring and short on legislative ideas.

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