Cambridge Analytica scandal: 355 Facebook users in India compromised the privacy of 5 lakh others

Facebook India has informed the Indian government of this data breach but they have not disclosed the identity of the 355 individuals.

Cambridge Analytica scandal has opened a can of works for world's biggest social media website, Facebook. The company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that all 2.2 billion users of the social media platform should assume that their public data has been compromised by third-party apps. This scandal has also pushed people to increase their awareness about security and privacy of their personal data.

India has the world's second largest Facebook user base and it is no wonder that latest reports indicate that privacy of as many as 5 lakh Indians was compromised because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The shocking part is that only 335 Indian Facebook accounts were responsible for the data breach of these 5 lakh Indian accounts. As per a report by The Print, a quiz app 'thisisyourdigitallife' was downloaded by these 335 individuals between November 2013 and December 2015. This app was responsible for harvesting the user data of nearly 87 million American users.

The app scraped data of the friends of these 355 users and their friends as well to amass data on 5,62,120 users, in addition to the 335 original users. Facebook eventually suspended the app after reports emerged that the creator of the app Global Science Research (GSR), headed by Aleksandr Kogan, had sold off the data to Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook India has informed the Indian government of this data breach but they have not disclosed the identity of the 355 individuals. However, Facebook will inform all the 5,62,120 accounts affected that their data was violated by the app on 9 April.

As of right now, it is not clear what Cambridge Analytica did with the data gathered from this breach. Whistleblower Christopher Wylie has claimed that Congress has been a client of Cambridge Analytica and had employed the firm for certain regional projects.

As previously reported, Facebook is now exploring other apps that might be gathering data on users without permission. In the meantime, Facebook has taken measures to make it tough for third-party apps to scrape Facebook for any data. Facebook is also cutting down on gathering call logs and contact data from the users to optimise its friend searching algorithm. This comes right after it was revealed that Zuckerberg will be testifying in front of a congressional committee in the United States over the scandal.

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