One Facebook app, a data leak of 60 000 users

The personal data of about 60 000 South Africans may have been shared with controversial political data firm Cambridge Analytica, after friends of theirs installed a personality quiz app in 2013.

The political consulting firm has links to the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump.

In a media statement a spokesperson for Facebook said while only 33 South Africans installed the app, data of 59 777 South African users was potentially shared.

The personality quiz app was created in 2013 by Cambridge University Aleksandr Kogan, and was downloaded by about 300 000 people worldwide.

At the time the quiz went live, it was able to collect data on some of the friends of the 300 000 people who downloaded it.

Facebook earlier in the week said information of up to 87 million people worldwide may have been improperly shared by the app’s creator with Cambridge Analytica. The majority of those impacted were in the US.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the sharing of the data as a “breach of trust”.

“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you. I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said in a blog post.

The social media giant has said it will alert users from Monday if it believed that their data had been captured by Cambridge Analytica.

Zuckerberg, meanwhile, is set to testify this week before committees of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate around questions of data privacy. — News 24

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Jan Cronje
Jan Cronje
Fin24 Journalist based in Cape Town.

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