Today’s the day when Facebook will notify the millions of users who had their personal information used and abused by data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica.
At some point on Monday, April 9, all of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users will receive a notification titled “Protecting Your Information”. If you are one of the 87 million users whose had your data improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica then your notification will have a tab called “See How You Are Affected”. If your data hasn’t been improperly shared, it will simply say “Go To Apps and Websites”. The difference between the notifications is pictured below.
Many commentators are noting that users should still not be complacent about their data security even if your information hasn’t been improperly shared (yet). Facebook, along with other tech giants, all keep a file of personal information about you – unfortunately it’s up to you to be vigilant about what’s getting shared.
Over 70 million (81 percent) of the affected users live in the US. Approximately 1 million affected users live in the UK, 600,000 in Canada, and 311,127 in Australia. Other affected countries included the Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, India, Brazil, and Vietnam.
Monday’s notification is all about Facebook attempting to be more transparent about how they deal with your data. As you’ve no doubt heard, Cambridge Analytica has recently got in a lot of trouble for harvesting huge amounts of personal information from Facebook. This data was used to create and target political advertising in an attempt to influence the opinions of voters on behalf of political parties, companies, or any individuals willing to hire them.
“By now, everyone knows the story: during the 2016 US election, foreign actors tried to undermine the integrity of the electoral process. Their attack included taking advantage of open online platforms — such as Facebook — to divide Americans, and to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt,” said Guy Rosen, VP of Product Management at Facebook in a statement.
“Now, none of us can turn back the clock, but we are all responsible for making sure the same kind of attack our democracy does not happen again. And we are taking our role in that effort very, very seriously.”
Facebook is continuing to take steps to stop this kind of mind-meddling from happening again. Along with increasing their transparency, the tech firm has announced better vetting of their political advertising and partnerships with international news agencies to ensure articles, videos, and photos do not contain misinformation.