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Data of 3mn Facebook Users Were Available to Download Freely For Four Years: Report

"More than 6 million people completed the tests on the myPersonality app and nearly half agreed to share data from their Facebook profiles with the project," said the report.

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New Facebook tool lets journalists scrutinise political ads. Pixabay

A data set of over 3 million Facebook users collected via a personality app was available to download freely for anyone for almost four years, New Scientist reported.

The data set was collected via the personality quiz app “myPersonality” by academics at the University of Cambridge.

“The data was highly sensitive, revealing personal details of Facebook users, such as the results of psychological tests.

“It was meant to be stored and shared anonymously, however such poor precautions were taken that deanonymising would not be hard,” the report said.

The data sets were controlled by David Stillwell and Michal Kosinski at the University of Cambridge.

“More than 6 million people completed the tests on the myPersonality app and nearly half agreed to share data from their Facebook profiles with the project,” said the report.

Alexandr Kogan, at the centre of the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica scandal, was previously part of the project.

“Cambridge Analytica had approached the myPersonality app team in 2013 to get access to the data, but was turned down because of its political ambitions,” the report said.

Facebook last month suspended “myPersonality” from its platform, saying the app may have violated its policies.

A data set of over 3 million Facebook users collected via a personality app was available to download freely for anyone for almost four years, New Scientist reported.
“Cambridge Analytica had approached the myPersonality app team in 2013 to get access to the data, but was turned down because of its political ambitions,” the report said. IANS

The social media giant on Monday said that is auditing each and every app that has access to the data of its users and has already suspended 200 apps which failed to comply with its policies.

The company CEO Mark Zuckerberg had promised a thorough investigation and audit into apps that had access to information before Facebook changed its platform policies in 2014 — significantly reducing the data apps could access.

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“To date, thousands of apps have been investigated and around 200 have been suspended — pending a thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data,” Facebook said.

If Facebook finds evidence that these or other apps did misuse data, it will ban them and notify users via Help Centre on its website.

Appearing before the US Congress in April, Zuckerberg told lawmakers that his own personal data was part of 87 million Facebook users that was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. (IANS)

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Facebook Kills 300 Fake Pages and Accounts Linked To Russia

The individuals handling these accounts primarily represented themselves as Ukrainian and they operated a variety of fake accounts while sharing local Ukrainian news stories

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Facebook, social media
Facebook kills over 300 Russia-linked fake accounts, Pages, (VOA)

Social networking giant Facebook on Thursday killed over 300 fake Pages and accounts linked to Russia that it said was “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, almost two years after the US presidential election.

The social media giant removed 364 Pages and accounts as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries.

“The two operations we found originated in Russia, and one was active in a variety of countries while the other was specific to Ukraine.

“Despite their misrepresentations of their identities, we found that these Pages and accounts were linked to employees of Sputnik, a news agency based in Moscow, and that some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

About $135,000 were spent in ads, and paid for in euros, roubles and dollars, over a time span from October 2013 to now.

Around 790,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages (now taken down) on the social media platform.

“We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they post. In these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves,” Gleicher added.

The pages hosted about 190 events, with the most recent scheduled for January 2019, and about 1,200 people expressing interest in them.

We cannot confirm whether any of these events actually occurred, the company added.

Facebook, data
Facebook staring at bigger problems this year, warns analyst. VOA

Separately, the social networking giant removed another 107 pages, groups and accounts as well as 41 Instagram accounts that were designed to look like they were operating from Ukraine, but were in fact part of a network that originated in Russia.

Also Read: Facebook Violated Cyber Security Law: Vietnam

The individuals handling these accounts primarily represented themselves as Ukrainian and they operated a variety of fake accounts while sharing local Ukrainian news stories on topics ranging from weather, protests, NATO to health conditions at schools.

“We identified some technical overlap with Russia-based activity we saw prior to the US midterm elections, including behaviour that shared characteristics with previous Internet Research Agency (IRA) activity,” the company said. (IANS)