Facebook Now Says More Users Hit By Data Scandal

Facebook Inc. (FB) now says the number of people whose information was “improperly shared” with British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica is 87 million. Earlier, the company had claimed that 50 million users were affected by the data breach. For its part, Cambridge Analytica disputed Facebook’s figure. “Cambridge Analytica licensed data for no more than 30 million people from GSR, as is clearly stated in our contract with the research company,” the company wrote in a blogpost published today. (See also: Facebook Shares Fall After Data Leak Bombshell). 

The new figure for affected users was shared by Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer in a blogpost detailing new privacy measures on the company’s website. Those measures include preventing third-party access to event information and acting as a gatekeeper to third-party apps that require access to pages and personal information of users. In the latter case, such apps will undergo a “strict review” process. Facebook has also stopped third-party apps from accessing personal information and details such as birthdays and political affiliation. It has disabled a feature that enabled users to search or recover an account on its network by simply using a phone number or an email address. 

Zuckerberg Owns Up To His Responsibility 

In a conference call after the post was published, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg owned up to his responsibility in the fiasco. “We didn’t take a broad enough view on what our responsibility was and that was a huge mistake. That was my mistake,” he said, adding that he was not “looking to throw anyone under the bus for mistakes I’ve made.” That said, the affair does not seem to have made much of an impact on the company’s bottom line. Zuckerberg, who is scheduled to testify before two Congressional committees next week, said the company hadn’t witnessed user defections or a substantial impact on its ad sales. 

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has roiled Facebook’s stock since it came to widespread media attention two weeks ago. (See also: Facebook Sinks To Bear Market Territory On FTC Probe). The Menlo Park-based company has shed as much as 18% of its stock price during this time period. The company’s stock declined by 2% as reports on the revised user number surfaced. However, Zuckerberg’s conference call allayed investor fears. By the end of the day, Facebook’s stock had regained its losses and was up by 3% in after-hours trading to $159.73.

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