Facebook reports higher number in data-sharing scandal

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Photo from NBC San Diego Photo from NBC San Diego

(WAND) – Facebook says more user data could have been "improperly shared" than initially thought.

NBC News reports information belonging to up to 87 million Facebook users could have gone to Cambridge Analytica, which has been linked to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. That company stands accused of taking information from a quiz app that users downloaded and using it toward making political ads targeting voters with that data..

The new estimate is higher than the 50 million people that documents from Cambridge Analytica suggested had data shared. Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, says the social media giant believes most affected people live in the United States.

Cambridge Analytica says it did not use any of that information in the election.

The company says it licensed data from close to 30 million people through research company GSR, but had contract language in the agreement specifying that information must be found legally. It says it took legal action against GSR when it discovered that clause was violated, then worked to delete all data found from those quizzes through an independent third-party audit.

Facebook leaders say a feature that let people search accounts by phone numbers and emails is now gone, a move that will not allow someone to “scrape” a person’s public information. On Monday, April 9, Facebook says it will start telling its users on their news feeds if their data went to Cambridge Analytica. It will also provide new features allowing people to check information they’ve shared with apps on the website.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters this week that he wants to learn from mistakes moving forward. He told NBC News that he believes he is the right person to remain in charge of Facebook.

He’s scheduled to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to testify on April 11.

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