Facebook: We're making changes (oh, and Cambridge Analytica harvested millions more profiles)

Facebook: We're making changes (oh, and Cambridge Analytica harvested millions more profiles)

Announcement of the hearing date comes as Facebook faces scrutiny over its data collection following allegations that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained data on tens of millions of Facebook users to try to influence elections.

Asked about the discrepancy between Facebook's estimate of the number of users affected and the widely reported figure of 50 million, a spokeswoman for the company said Facebook used "an expansive methodology" to arrive at 87 million.

However, after the election-and long before the recent revelations-Cambridge admitted that it didn't actually use psychographic techniques in the presidential campaign, which means that the Facebook data likely didn't play a significant role in the 2016 election. Now, in a blog post on 4 April, Facebook subtly revealed that 87 million people, mainly in the USA, rather than 50 million people as first thought, were affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and it has examined its "opt-in feature" and is making changes to it. Facebook promised it will delete all logs older than one year. It is implementing these changes as part of a three-part plan to restrict data access.

Other advice for the Facebook CEO?

The stakes are high for Zuckerberg's April 11 appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is due to appear before a U.S. congressional committee on April 11, when he will be questioned on the company's "use and protection of user data".

Facebook said in March it had suspended the accounts of Cambridge Analytica and its parent company and hired forensic auditors to probe whether Cambridge Analytica still had the data.

Their call represented the first official request from a congressional oversight committee for Zuckerberg's appearance as lawmakers demanded that Facebook explain reports that Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of more than 50 million Facebook users.

Facebook's CTO also vowed: "In the future, the client will only upload to our servers the information needed to offer this feature", meaning granular metadata like the time of calls won't be uploaded. Greg Walden and Frank Pallone say the hearing will focus on the Facebook's "use and protection of user data".

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