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Facebook users’ data still out in the wild: Report

Cambridge Analytica has been accused of influencing the result of the United Kingdom's 2016 Brexit referendum and of the 2016 American presidential election

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Facebook warned investors that there may be more such data breaches in the future. Pixabay
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  • Facebook users’ data is still unsafe
  • Even after Cambridge Analytica’s claim that it has deleted the data
  • The data remains out in the open unsafe

Despite British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica’s claim that it has deleted data of over 50 million Facebook users, portions of the data is still out in the wild, the media reported.

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Facebook users’ data is still out in the open unsafe. VOA

According to a report in UK’s Channel 4 News, the cache of campaign data from a Cambridge Analytica source details 136,000 individuals in the US state of Colorado, “along with each person’s personality and psychological profile”.

“The data, which dates from 2014, was used by Cambridge Analytica to target specific messages at residents who would be most susceptible to them,” the report said.

Also Read: It’s too late for Facebook to regulate itself: Tim Cook

Cambridge Analytica had earlier claimed that it has erased the data from the public domain. The company received the user data from a Facebook app years ago that purported to be a psychological research tool, however, the firm was not authorised to have that information.

Cambridge Analytica has been accused of influencing the result of the United Kingdom’s 2016 Brexit referendum and of the 2016 American presidential election that brought Donald Trump to the White House.

Facebook invests big in Community Leaders Program. AFP
The leak has also been linked to many political scandals. AFP

In a recent appearance before British Parliament, ex-Cambridge programmer Christopher Wylie shocked delegates by stating that he had no doubt that his former employer had manipulated the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential election and broken the law. IANS

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Facebook Introduces New Tools to Protect Elections Globally

In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Senate, saying they were too slow to spot and respond to Russian interference

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Facebook expands security tools to protect elections globally. Pixabay

In order to further secure candidates and campaign staff vulnerable to hackers and nation-state actors during the elections, Facebook has introduced additional tools to protect political campaigns in the US and around the world.

The social media giant has launched a pilot programme to expand its existing protections for users associated with US political campaigns ahead of the 2018 mid-term elections.

“Candidates for federal or statewide office, as well as staff members and representatives from federal and state political party committees, can add additional security protections to their Pages and accounts,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, wrote in a blog post late on Monday.

“We’ll help officials adopt our strongest account security protections, like two-factor authentication, and monitor for potential hacking threats,” Gleicher added.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Over the past year, the company has invested in new technology and more people to stay ahead of bad actors who are determined to use Facebook to disrupt elections.

“This pilot programme is an addition to our existing security tools and procedures, and we will apply what we learn to other elections in the US and around the world,” said Facebook.

“As we detect abuse, we will continue to share relevant information with law enforcement and other companies so we can maximise our effectiveness,” it added.

According to a report in Download, a working paper released last week revealed a significant drop-off in the engagements 570 fake news sites received on Facebook since the 2016 US presidential elections.

“At its peak, there were 200 million monthly engagements with the sites. As of July 2018, that’s dropped to 70 million,” the report added.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Senate, saying they were too slow to spot and respond to Russian interference.

“Our sophistication in handling these threats is growing and improving quickly. We now have about 15,000 people working on security and content review. We’ll have more than 20,000 by the end of this year,” he told the lawmakers.

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The Facebook CEO apologised for what happened and took responsibility for everything. He also said that there is an online propaganda “arms race” with Russia and it was important to make sure no one interferes in any more elections, including in India.

“The most important thing I care about right now is making sure no one interferes in the various 2018 elections around the world,” he testified before a 44-Senator panel. (IANS)