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Data leak: Facebook says 5.62 lakh people potentially affected in India

Last updated on: April 05, 2018 14:27 IST

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that it will take years for Facebook to fix the problem.

READ: The Facebook Menace

 

Social media giant Facebook said on Thursday that 5.62 lakh people in India were “potentially affected” by global data leak episode involving United Kingdom-based Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook has over 20 crore users in the country and the Indian government last month had shot-off notices to both Facebook and Analytica on the data breach issue.

Data mining firm Analytica has been accused of harvesting personal information of over millions of Facebook users illegally to influence polls in several countries.

 

Facebook had on Wednesday admitted that data on about 87 million people -- mostly in the United States -- may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

“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,” Mike Schroepfer, chief technology officer, Facebook, said as he updated users on the changes the social network is making to better protect their information.

As per a table of compromised users, most of the personal information that may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica are from the US -- 70.8 million or 81 per cent. Indonesia and the United Kingdom stand a distant second with 1.1 million users’ data being compromised. India ranks seventh wherein information of 562,455 of its users may have been compromised.

Schroepfer said until now, people could grant an app permission to get information about events they host or attend, including private events. This made it easy to add Facebook Events to the calendar, ticketing or other apps.

A Facebook spokesperson said that while 335 people in India were directly affected through an app installation, another 562,120 people were potentially affected as friends of those users.

“This yields a total of 562,455 potentially affected people in India, which is 0.6 per cent of the global number of potentially affected people,” Facebook spokesperson added.

The company said it is “investigating” the specific number of people whose information was accessed, including those in India.

The past few days have seen a global outrage over the breach of user data on Facebook, forcing the company to issue an public apology.

Facebook’s data breach scandal also sparked a furore in India with Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last month warning the firm of “stringent” action for any attempt to influence polls through data theft and threatening to summon Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, if needed.

Mark Zuckerberg: Fixing Facebook will take years

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has sought another chance for himself to lead the social media giant despite acknowledging mistakes that his company made in sharing its users' information with a third-party.

Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook in 2004, once again admitted the lapses and asked for another chance to lead the company.

"Give me another chance," he told reporters during a conference call when asked if he is still the best person to lead the company.

"This a huge mistake. It's my mistake," Zuckerberg said, taking the blame for the massive data breach.

"Yes. People make mistakes and learn along the way. I'm the first to admit we didn't take a broad enough view of what our responsibilities are...What people should hold us accountable for is learning from the mistakes," he said.

He said he was unaware of the board asking him to step down against the backdrop of the data breach scandal.

"Not that I am aware of...Nobody has been fired because of this scandal," he said when asked if the board has asked him to step down in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

"I have not, due to the CA situation, yet. We're still working through this. At the end of the day, this is my responsibility. There have been a bunch of questions about that. I started this place, I run it, I'm responsible for what happens here," he told reporters.

"I'm not looking to throw anyone else under the bus for mistakes we made here," he said.

Zuckerberg said the scandal has not much dented into its business.

"I don't think there's been any meaningful impact that we've observed. But, look, it's not good ... It still speaks to people feeling like this was a massive breach of trust and that we have a lot of work to do to repair that," he said, seeking to downplay the crisis that followed the data breach.

Responding to a question, Zuckerberg said it will take years for Facebook to fix the problem.

"It will be a multi-year process to combat disinformation," he said, adding that this will be a "never-ending battle."

"I'm confident we're making progress against these adversaries but they're very sophisticated. We can't expect to fully solve a problem like this," Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg, who co-founded the company in 2014, is scheduled to testify before a Congressional committee on data breach next week.

"This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online. We appreciate Mr Zuckerberg's willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions," said committee Chairman Congressman Greg Walden, and the Ranking Member Frank Pallone.

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