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Facebook Privacy

Cambridge Analytica May Have Had Facebook Data From 87 Million People (recode.net) 119

Cambridge Analytica may have had data from more unwitting Facebook usersthan originally thought. From a report: Facebook now says that the data firm, which collected data about users without their permission, may have collected data on as many as 87 million people. Original reports from the New York Times pegged that number at closer to 50 million people. "In total, we believe the Facebook information of up to 87 million people -- mostly in the U.S." may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica by apps that they or their friends used," Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer wrote in a blog post Wednesday. From Facebook's blog post, "Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we've seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. "
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Cambridge Analytica May Have Had Facebook Data From 87 Million People

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  • Always start low (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobm ( 53783 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2018 @02:47PM (#56382487)

    Ok, after observing issues like data leaks it looks like the corporate plan is to report some low number that will get people upset but hide the real and often scary number for a later 'confession'. This way people won't be upset with the now much bigger number.

    I swear that they must teach this in evil^H^H^H^H MBA school.

    • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2018 @02:51PM (#56382545) Homepage

      ...hide the real and often scary number for a later 'confession'. This way people won't be upset...

      I'm about equally upset by 87M as I was by 50M. Both numbers translate to "way too fucking many".

      • I don't get what people are upset about. What data did you put on Facebook that you thought wouldn't be shared? Don't you assume the information you put into a website is going to be shared by that company?
        • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2018 @03:01PM (#56382653) Homepage

          What data did you put on Facebook that you thought wouldn't be shared?

          I'm not worried about the data I put on Facebook. I'm worried about everything else they've dug up on me.

          • Ah ok. If people would only listen to Stallman we would be better off. The only good data collection is none at all.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Obfuscant ( 592200 )

              Ah ok. If people would only listen to Stallman we would be better off. The only good data collection is none at all.

              Stallman is a nut.

              For example, Amazon collects data on what I've bought from them, tied to my login. This makes it easy to re-buy something I want more of. It makes it easier to get a refund/return. It allows Amazon to notify me if there is a problem with an order. It allows Amazon to lie to me about when that order has been delivered.

              Is that bad data collection? Of course not.

              The BAD thing would be if Amazon sold that information to someone else, or had poor data security and the information leaked.

              • No, you are just dumb.

                "The BAD thing would be if Amazon sold that information to someone else, or had poor data security and the information leaked."

                They already do share that information with others. Also, how many more hacks do you need to hear about until you realize that companies aren't keeping your data secure. You guys are hopeless.
              • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

                You have confused the term record of financial transactions with data collection. A required record of financial transactions to keep the tax people happy and to allow those transaction and keep you happy is sufficient. Once used and no longer necessary deleted. This versus data collection, with no limitations. One acceptable and the other, pretty much looking like it should be banned.

              • Agreed. Companies like Amazon have been coolecting and using consumer data for decades and consumers have mostly appreciated the results. I like to have products suggested to me...that is the retailer's job: to introduce me to products that may be cheaper or higher quality or that may solve my problem.

                Let;s not compare that to raping people's contact lists and using it in a sneaky way to build our network or fain relationships or make predictions about political affiliations.

          • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
            Or, more interestingly, what kinds and quantity of data they have on people who have never had an account to start with, but have been tagged by family/friends/colleagues that do. Really curious to see what kinds of data people in that situation who hit Facebook up with an SAR once the GDPR comes into force are going to get back, although they may need to create an account and make a few posts to it in order to link their "offline profile" data to their personal ID.
            • Who is "they have"? There are thousands of these companies now. Are you going to contact each one? You don't even know who these companies are. You guys don't get it. The only way to stop this is to ban data collection completely.
              • The only way to stop this is to ban data collection completely.

                Sigh. I could use personal insult like you did towards me, but I'll refrain.

                No such law would ever pass. Too many people find too much value in having some data collected, like the Amazon example I presented. Too many people will reject outright your claim that there is no good data collection.

                The best you can do it laws regarding release of such data once it is collected. But if you cannot rely on laws banning such releases, then you cannot rely on a law banning collection at all.

                Therefore, this is a pi

              • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
                I was replying to someone who specifically mentioned Facebook, and also mentioned Facebook specifically, in a thread discussing Facebook so I think the context should be a pretty big clue as to who "they" meant. Even so, sure you can easily apply that to any of the companies that you can identify who track you and store your data, which probably covers most of the largest data hoarders out of the thousands, so it is a start at least and covers the worst offenders. A SAR can also include a request for info
          • Exactly, it is only a matter of time before genetic and medical data are correlated with facebook data into predictive sets (in the hands of insurance companies, brokerages, and banks). It can be completely anonymized and still be a menace to society. There is no precedence for this amount of power--any that are close have never ended well.

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          My bank has a website. I put data "on" that website, and I certainly expect it won't be shared by the bank.

          Facebook users who left their profiles public have no reason to object to someone using their data.

          Facebook users who clicked on some stupid survey and gave Facebook permission to give the shady author of the survey permission to use their data have no reason to object to someone using that data, except perhaps if the Facebook permission request was misleading.

          Facebook users who set their profile priv

          • I knew someone would bring up a "bank". Guess what? Your bank definitely shares some of that information with all their corporate partners. People are naive.
          • by gnick ( 1211984 )

            Facebook users who clicked on some stupid survey and gave Facebook permission to give the shady author of the survey permission to use their data have no reason to object...

            What about the Facebook user whose friend decided to take the survey. Most of the people targeted did not click the link or give consent.

        • CamAnal (fark meme) lied about how the data was going to be used. There's also some questions about whether Facebook was aware of what CamAnal was doing or not. A common trick companies use to do something really nasty is to let another company do it and then when they get caught say "oops, that was against our Ts&Cs. We're ever so sorry". This is why you need laws that punish individuals. Otherwise they hide behind the corporate veil with impunity.
        • Suppose you are not a Facebook user because you would like to remain private. And what if your friend installed the Facebook App on his or her mobile and uploads the entire address book with your information in it? Facebook now has a shadow profile on you, based on information from potentially many friends, and there is no way to opt out.

          And then there are the photos and Facebook's facial recognition software. Whenever someone uploads a photo with your face Facebook can probably identify you, if any of y
        • No one understands analytics and what we call "AI." No one! Not CEOs, not CIOs, not the media, and certainly not the general public "Jill Facebook." People are slowly starting to realize what kind of information and power can be derived from large data sets--especially personal data like FB collects. It is a data scientitsts wet dream. In that dream they do not pine over the source of that data--they just want their hands on it. It is the new gold, and they have data fever.

      • ...hide the real and often scary number for a later 'confession'. This way people won't be upset...

        I'm about equally upset by 87M as I was by 50M. Both numbers translate to "way too fucking many".

        And apparently selling data to people who use hookers and lies to influence people is now called scraping.

      • Agreed. This is the same exact story with a fact tweak. Nothing of substance has changed.

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2018 @02:52PM (#56382553)
    My impression of Facebook has always been a) a pretty poorly designed website with little going for it besides, erm, "connecting people" in a very basic way b) a massive database back-end that scoops up as much data about everybody as possible, analyzes it a bit, and then lets that data be sold to whoever the fuck pays enough money for it. Why is everybody suddenly panicking "Gosh-OMG-NoWay-They-Sold-Our-Datazzz". Isn't this what Facebook was engineered to do from day one? Why is anybody surprised by this at all???
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bobbied ( 2522392 )

      They are just surprised the Trump campaign was able to pay for this data and actually use it. Had the data ended up in the hands of say the Obama campaign, nobody would have cared (nor did they when it happened). Had Hillary won, nobody would have cared then either.

      The issue here is Trump unexpectedly won and ANYBODY or ANYTHING that may have contributed to that is now subject to a proctology exam all the way up to the tonsils. Why? Because somebody needs to explain how this could happen when all the m

    • I don't think people are surprised that Facebook has the data, but many still aren't really aware what can be done with it. It's this dawning realization that causes most of the concern.

    • as an advertising platform. Not a data analytics company and reseller. When I get a call to do a political survey I know what I'm getting into. Facebook actively obfuscates this line of business by focusing on their ad selling in any and all literature that's not an SEC filing
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      My impression of Facebook has always been a) a pretty poorly designed website with little going for it besides, erm, "connecting people" in a very basic way b) a massive database back-end that scoops up as much data about everybody as possible, analyzes it a bit, and then lets that data be sold to whoever the fuck pays enough money for it. Why is everybody suddenly panicking "Gosh-OMG-NoWay-They-Sold-Our-Datazzz". Isn't this what Facebook was engineered to do from day one? Why is anybody surprised by this at all???

      Because of who did it this time. But you knew that ...

  • They have already done demographic analyses, found the opinion leaders, found the arguments that would be persuasive to them, verified them using focus group testing. Now all that 87 million people think it is no big deal if they are trolled and emotionally manipulated for their vote.

    Expect people coming out of wood work blaming Hillary for being dumb out of touch politician and a master criminal at the same time.

    • They have already done demographic analyses, found the opinion leaders, found the arguments that would be persuasive to them, verified them using focus group testing. Now all that 87 million people think it is no big deal if they are trolled and emotionally manipulated for their vote.

      Expect people coming out of wood work blaming Hillary for being dumb out of touch politician and a master criminal at the same time.

      She's no master criminal... Just a liar who got caught multiple times trying to explain away a two bit crime... But yes, that's basically why she failed.

    • Expect people coming out of wood work blaming Hillary for being dumb out of touch politician and a master criminal at the same time.

      Um, yeah, that'd be pretty silly to make two such contradictory accusations about somebody prominent ...

      No, I can't; it's just too easy.

    • Now all that 87 million people think it is no big deal if they are trolled and emotionally manipulated for their vote.

      How many people are still outraged by the Daisy Ad [wikipedia.org] run by Lyndon Johnson against Goldwater? I remember that ad, and I remember that not a lot of Democrats were upset by the "emotional manipulation" that got their candidate elected.

      Expect people coming out of wood work blaming Hillary for being dumb out of touch politician and a master criminal at the same time.

      Are you trying to say that someone cannot be both out of touch with their campaign and a criminal at the same time? How naive.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2018 @03:01PM (#56382641)
    If anyone remembers the organization Acorn was instrumental in getting Obama elected, albeit for different reasons (voter registration drives tend to favor the Dems, and that was Acorn's thing). Acorn was dismantled by the Republican party not long after the campaign.

    Given the scope of the data and how it was likely being used losing CamAnal (fark meme) might hurt Trump in the next campaign a lot. Now, I'm not saying the Dems are doing this on purpose (that would be giving them way, way too much credit for being smart, these are they guys that lost to Trump after all) but this seems like the kind of resource that if you can't replace it you're gonna lose. Well, unless the Dems run another dead pan Hilary Clinton style right of center milktoast.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you are not paying for it, you are what is being sold.

  • Heh, everyone's all worried about Cambridge Analytica. Ever wonder how many of those peoples' data, Facebook has?

  • Uh.. Yea... They are "Public" right?

    Except that Facebook didn't necessarily control the data collection, how's this even a thing? Any two bit bot could hoover up all the public profile information by just sorting through what Facebook provides the public access to. "Search here for friends!"

    Who didn't already know this could happen?

  • And, yes, you're included due to some people having lots of friends.

    Ask the correct questions.

    Are we talking people in the US? Are we talking people in the UK? Are we talking people in North America? Are we talking people in the EU?

    American citizens live everywhere.

  • we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way

    Uh ... can't a public profile be scraped pretty much any way?

  • Facebook now says that [Cambridge Analytica] collected data about [87 million] users without their permission...

    And Facebook is attempting to rewrite the script after the fact, by using very careful phrasing to imply that Cambridge Analytica is the real villain here... not Facebook.

    <sarcasm>Because clearly Facebook is just as much a victim in this debacle as are all of their users... it's not as though they left this huge gaping hole in the security of their system, and the folks over at Cambridge just basically waltzed right in using only the most basic of social engineering tactics... no, nothing like that at

  • I predict that he of the long face, droopy gob & hoodie will try to spin this as "Hey, nearly 99% of the world's population didn't have their data accessed!", followed up by that gormless grin that somebody told him is endearing.

  • Facebook is now admitting that data of most of its 2 billion users has been collected and used [washingtonpost.com] by third parties.

    Needless to say, Zuckerberg and Facebook proper sincerely apologize for this usage and take people's privacy very seriously.

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