Facebook starts telling users whether Cambridge Analytica accessed their data

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be testifying before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. 


James Martin/CNET

Curious about whether Cambridge Analytica accessed your Facebook data? Some of you can now find out.

Facebook started rolling the notice out to some users at 9 a.m. PT on Monday, according to Wired. Other users will see the notice later on. 


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A message titled “Protecting Your Information” will show up on your Facebook page with one of two notices. If you or a friend was connected to the “This is Your Digital Life” quiz that’s the source of Cambridge Analytica’s data, you’ll see a message telling you the quiz was banned. It will notify you that some of your Facebook information might have been misused and will include a link for you to click to see how you’re affected.

If no one in your network accessed “This is Your Digital Life,” you’ll see a different message — still titled “Protecting Your Information” — that makes it easier to see what apps and websites are linked to your Facebook account. 

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

facebook-protecting-your-information

You’ll see one of two possible messages when you log into your Facebook account. 


Facebook

The new tool comes ahead of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress about Cambridge Analytica. It’s the biggest scandal in the social network’s 14-year history, and the US government wants Zuckerberg to explain how so much personal data could have been shared about users — as well as what he’s doing to prevent this happening in the future. 

As part of its changes, Facebook announced new privacy settings and a clearer privacy policy and said it’s auditing the thousands of apps on its site to make sure it knows how data is being collected.

In terms of Cambridge Analytica, personal info from about 300,000 users was originally collected in 2013 for a personality quiz app called “This is Your Digital Life,” designed by Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge University researcher. Because of how Facebook worked at the time, Kogan was able to access data from friends of the quiz takers — up to 87 million of them — and share the information with Cambridge Analytica. The data analytics firm then used the data to help the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.  

Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook’s data mining scandal.

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech’s role in providing new kinds of accessibility.

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