Information of over 65,000 Singapore Facebook users may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica

Facebook is now embroiled in a global scandal for its role in the breach, standing accused of not ensuring the security of its users' personal data.
Facebook is now embroiled in a global scandal for its role in the breach, standing accused of not ensuring the security of its users' personal data.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Information from the accounts of more than 65,000 Facebook users in Singapore might have been "improperly shared" with data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, prompting the local privacy watchdog to step in and look into the matter.

The social media giant said on Thursday (April 5) that the information of 65,009 Facebook users here was likely affected in the growing data breach involving Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy firm which applies data mining and analysis to elections.

Facebook is now embroiled in a global scandal for its role in the breach, standing accused of not ensuring the security of its users' personal data. Cambridge Analytica is said to have exploited the data for commercial and political use.

Facebook's chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer said in an update on Wednesday that the total number of people who had their information improperly obtained and shared is now estimated to be 87 million, 37 million more than its initial figure of 50 million people.

The bulk of the accounts belong to North American Facebook users. Other countries whose users have their information compromised include the Philippines, Indonesia and India.

A spokesman for the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) said the agency is looking into the matter. “PDPC is concerned that individuals in Singapore are affected. We are looking into the matter and are in close contact with Facebook,” said the spokesman. “Facebook users are encouraged to review their privacy settings in order to control how their information is used or shared.”

Facebook had earlier said it was investigating if Singapore accounts were among those whose information had been obtained by Cambridge Analytica researcher Aleksandr Kogan.

During a Select Committee hearing on deliberate online falsehoods on March 24, Facebook's Asia-Pacific vice-president of public policy Simon Milner said affected users will be informed.