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Facebook Tells Users Whether Private Data Shared


In this Monday, June 19, 2017, file photo, a user gets ready to launch Facebook on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass. Facebook’s efforts to reduce the spread of fake news using outside fact-checkers may be working, but with a big caveat. The company says once a story receives a “false rating” from a fact-checker, Facebook is able to reduce future impressions of it by 80 percent. But it regularly takes more than three days for a story to receive a false rating. And, the way news stories work, most impressions happen when the story first comes out, not three days later. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
Facebook Tells Users Whether Private Data Shared
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Facebook says it will begin informing users as to whether their personal data may have been wrongly shared with a British research company.

Beginning Monday, Facebook said users who may have had private data shared with Cambridge Analytica will receive a message about it in their News Feed.

The company believes up to 87 million people might be have been affected. Facebook says most of them are in the United States. It says there were about a million users affected each in the Philippines, Indonesia and Britain.

Facebook says the information Cambridge Analytica got was first collected by a researcher at Cambridge University. The researcher gathered the data in 2013 through an app that asked users a series of questions for what was described as a personality test.

The users used Facebook to sign into the app. Facebook says information may have also been shared on people who did not sign into the app, if they were Facebook friends with users who did.

Facebook is informing users who may have had private data shared with Cambridge Analytica through a message in their News Feed. (Facebook)
Facebook is informing users who may have had private data shared with Cambridge Analytica through a message in their News Feed. (Facebook)

Last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted the company made mistakes in dealing with Cambridge Analytica. The company says it is continuing to investigate the incident. Zuckerberg apologized and said the social media service is already taking steps to prevent misuse of user data in the future.

Facebook has also created a link that shows all users what apps and websites they used Facebook to sign into. From the link, users can remove ones they no longer want connected to Facebook.

Cambridge Analytica uses a research method that involves “psychographs.” The method aims to use data it collects to predict personal behaviors.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaves a meeting with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaves a meeting with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Cambridge Analytica data was used during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The company worked for then-candidate Donald Trump. A Trump campaign official has said the campaign did not use Cambridge Analytica for voter information.

Zuckerberg has been called to testify before several Congressional committees beginning on Tuesday. He is expected to speak about the Cambridge Analytica situation and discuss Facebook’s privacy policies.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on information from Facebook and reports from the Associated Press and Reuters. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Do you think Facebook is handling the situation with Cambridge Analytica​ correctly? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

app n. computer program that performs a special function​

personality n. set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, etc., that makes a person different from other people

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