Privacy commissioner opens Facebook probe


One in 50 of Facebook’s n users may have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica.’s privacy commissioner will delve into Facebook after the US social media giant revealed up to one in 50 local users may have had their personal information accessed by Cambridge Analytica.

A formal investigation will determine whether the $580-billion behemoth breached the n privacy act.

Facebook has admitted 311,127 n users are among the 87 million users worldwide whose data could have been “improperly” shared with the British political consultancy agency.

Acting Information and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said on Thursday all organisations covered by the Privacy Act have obligations regarding the personal information they hold.

“This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure that personal information is held securely, and ensuring that customers are adequately notified about the collection and handling of their personal information,” she said.

Belinda Barnet, a data analytics expert at Swinburne University, says profile data is just the tip of the iceberg with companies collecting data on every click made on their websites.

Users can’t adjust how that data is shown to third parties, she said.

“All the data collected while you interact with the platform should be transparent, that should be available to you,” Dr Barnet said.

“I’d like to see transparency about which third-party organisations including advertisers have access to your profile data, your data points and the inferences drawn from those data points.

“If things keep happening, governments are going to have to regulate to make (these changes happen).”

The data available to CA was scraped from profiles using an app designed by Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan.

CA said it accessed data on 30 million accounts, as per its contract with Mr Kogan’s research company GSR.

“We did not receive more data than this,” CA said in a statement.

“We did not use any GSR data in the work we did in the 2016 US presidential election.”

Facebook also isn’t sure about its figures.

“It very well could be less (than 87 million), but we wanted to put out the maximum we felt that it could be as that analysis says,” founder and chairman Mark Zuckerberg told reporters.

The company also noted that, up until Thursday, some of the company’s software tools had allowed apps to scrape data from private events and private groups.

Facebook also restricted the amount of call and SMS data uploaded to its servers from the phones of those using Messenger and Facebook Lite users on Android.

“I think we need to take a broader view of our responsibility,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“We’re not just building tools, but we need to take full responsibility for the outcome and how people use those tools as well.”

Americans made up the majority of the 87 million accounts identified by Facebook, while the UK, the Philippines and Indonesia each had more than one million accounts affected.

, which has 15 million monthly active users, had the tenth-most accounts caught up in the scandal.

Comments are closed.