Facebook starts sending alerts to 87m users affected by Cambridge Analytica data breach, including 65,000 Singapore users

Users with affected accounts will see a notification on the top of their Facebook's News Feed informing them what happened and how they are affected.
Users with affected accounts will see a notification on the top of their Facebook's News Feed informing them what happened and how they are affected.PHOTO: FACEBOOK
The notifications are part of Facebook's attempts to deal with a global scandal where information about its users were improperly accessed by third-party companies.
The notifications are part of Facebook's attempts to deal with a global scandal where information about its users were improperly accessed by third-party companies.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Facebook has started informing the 87 million users on its platform if their data was improperly shared with data firm Cambridge Analytica, including over 65,000 users here in Singapore.

Those with affected accounts will see a notification on the top of their Facebook's News Feed informing them what happened and how they are affected.

Facebook told tech news site The Verge in a report that ran early Tuesday morning (April 10, Singapore time) that "the notification is rolling out over the course of today".

This marks the first time users will know if their account information was shared or not.

"We have banned the website 'This Is Your Digital Life', which one of your friends used Facebook to log into," the notification reads. "We did this because the website may have misused some of your Facebook information by sharing it with a company called Cambridge Analytica."

Furthermore, all of Facebook's 2.2 billion users will also see a prompt on the top of their News Feed that gives them quick access to check which apps and websites they are currently sharing data with.

Users can then choose to remove these apps from their account, which stops them from accessing further data from their profiles.

These notifications are part of Facebook's attempts to deal with a global scandal where information about its users was improperly accessed by third-party companies.

The social media company revealed last week that 65,009 Facebook users here had their Facebook information inappropriately shared with Cambridge Analytica, which is said to have exploited the data for commercial and political use.

The "thisisyourdigitallife" app was a personality quiz administered by data scientist and academic Aleksandr Kogan, from Cambridge University, who paid hundreds of thousands of users to take it for academic research purposes.

However, the app also collected information of the test-takers' Facebook friends, leading to the accumulation of a data pool of over 80 million users.

Facebook banned the app in 2015 but the data collected was not destroyed, in violation of Facebook's personal data policy.

Facebook has since also suspended two other data analytics firms for improperly handling or sharing user information: American firm Cubeyou and Canadian company AggregateIQ.