After coming across a breach earlier in the week, Facebook said on Friday (Sept. 28) that roughly 50 million of its users had their data exposed through an attack on its network. Facebook found that attackers were able to take control of user accounts through a function within the platform’s code, The New York Times reported.
Following the discovery, Facebook had the vulnerability fixed and reached out to authorities. More than 90 million users had to log out of their accounts as a result of the breach, which has been described as a typical measure taken with comprised accounts.
“We’re taking it really seriously,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told reporters in a conference call. “We have a major security effort at the company that hardens all of our surfaces."
Zuckerberg also told reporters, "I’m glad we found this. But it definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place.”
The news comes months after allegations that Cambridge Analytica improperly collected personal data from Facebook users that was reportedly used to help elect U.S. President Donald Trump. Cambridge Analytica 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, was 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.