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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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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 will not Remove Fake News – but will ‘Demote’ it

The site had done a trial displaying a red warning icon next to articles that fact checkers had identified as false, but later said it found this approach had "entrenched deeply held beliefs

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The company on Wednesday held an event in New York where it sought to convince journalists it was tackling the problem.
The company on Wednesday held an event in New York where it sought to convince journalists it was tackling the problem. Pixabay

Facebook has said that it will not remove fake news from its platform because it does not violate its community standards. Instead, it says posts that it deems to be fake news will be “demoted” in the news feed.

The social network is currently running an advertising campaign in Britain that declares “fake news is not our friend”. But it said publishers often had “very different points of view” and removing fabricated posts would be “contrary to the basic principles of free speech”, the BBC reported on Friday.

Facebook has been scrutinized for its role in spreading fake news after evidence emerged that Russia tried to influence US voters using the social network.

Facebook mobile app
Facebook mobile app. Pixabay

The company on Wednesday held an event in New York where it sought to convince journalists it was tackling the problem.

“We created Facebook to be a place where different people can have a voice,” John Hegeman from Facebook said while responding to CNN.

Also Read: Facebook Labels Russian Users as ‘Interested in Treason’

“We allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed,” a Facebook spokeswoman told CNN.

The site had done a trial displaying a red warning icon next to articles that fact checkers had identified as false, but later said it found this approach had “entrenched deeply held beliefs”. (IANS)