Following estimates from two newspapers that the Facebook data of more than 50 million users may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, the social media platform said that figure could be higher. Facebook now says that up to 87 million users may have had their data shared with the controversial research firm, Reuters reported.
Many of those approximately 87 million users were located in the United States, Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said in a blog post. The earlier 50 million-person estimate was based on investigations by the The Observer in London and The New York Times.
While Schroepfer did not say how Facebook calculated its estimate, he said the company would tell users if their data was shared with Cambridge Analytica. And, in light of the situation, Facebook said it will limit the personal data that third-party developers can access on its platform.
The news follows allegations that Cambridge Analytica improperly collected personal data from Facebook users that was reportedly used to help elect U.S. President Donald Trump. As far as Cambridge Analytica is concerned, the firm has made some pretty big claims — namely, that it can take raw personality data from a subset of voters and develop complex models of individuals, which campaigns can then use to target and micro-target voter communities to help move elections their way.
The firm’s most specific (and biggest) claim, however, is that it conducted this advanced voter modeling for the Trump organization during the 2016 election — and that it was on the strength of those data models that Trump was able to turn swing states, like Michigan and Wisconsin, from blue to red.
As those claims circulated, U.S. legislators asked Mark Zuckerberg to testify about Cambridge Analytica’s alleged misuse of the social media platform’s data. Zuckerberg appeared before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11, Reuters reported.