Facebook expressed its “willingness to engage” with European Union regulators amidst the latest scandal involving big data that could have seen almost 2 billion users having been affected by improper data manipulation. EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova is currently communicating with the Silicon Valley tech giant “to arrange for high-level contacts in the coming days”. Facebook had contacted Commissioner Jourova in response to her letter last month.
Facebook revealed that data on as many as 87 million people, most of them in the US, may have been improperly shared with research company Cambridge Analytica. This is Facebook’s first official acknowledgement of the potentially enormous scope of the leak, which was previously thought to be around 50 million. The incident has triggered a vigorous response from regulators who are seeking greater regulation of social media.
“The growing scale of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook case is very worrying, 87mln people were affected, also from EU,” Ms. Jourova tweeted, adding that “Facebook needs to step up the response and protect the European data.” Facebook has been under pressure from European and American lawmakers, as regulators have opened probes into what EU watchdogs refer to as a “very serious allegation with far-reaching consequences.”
Meanwhile, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologized and promised a probe into whether Cambridge Analytica still holds the data it obtained from a third-party app creator. Mr. Zuckerberg said that his company “didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm as well.” Facebook has already revamped its data policy to better single out what data it collects and how the firm uses it across the social network and related apps, such as Messenger or Instagram. These changes come ahead of strict EU privacy rules that will apply to any company processing data of European citizens.