As opposed to the 50 million figure initially announced by Facebook, the embattled social media giant said Wednesday that the Cambridge Analytica scandal might have involved even more users.
According to the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Mike Schoepfer, the political consulting firm may have accessed the information of around 87 million users, most of which are from the United States.
In a call with reporters yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the new figure was based on the maximum number of friends their users had back then.
“I’m quite confident given our analysis it is not more than 87 [million]. It very well could be less. But we wanted to put out the maximum we felt that it could be as soon as we had that analysis done,” Zuckerberg said.
Facebook previously said that the data was originally collected for academic purposes by Dr. Aleksandr Kogan‘s research company, the Global Science Research. However, they later found out that the information was given to third parties including Cambridge Analytica.
The new revelation further fuels the Cambridge Analytica scandal, prompting the political firm to release a statement refuting the claims of Zuckerberg.
“Today Facebook reported that information for up to 87 million people may have been improperly obtained by research company GSR,” the CA announcement reads.
“Cambridge Analytica licensed data for no more than 30 million people from GSR, as is clearly stated in our contract with the research company. We did not receive more data than this.”
The London-based consulting firm also denied using the data from GSR to boost the 2016 campaign of the then-presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
To prevent such an incident from happening again, Schoepfer outlined significant changes that will limit the access of third-party developers to Facebook through API.
This change includes revoking developer access to the guest list or wall posts of events scheduled on Facebook and seeking permission to access the data of group members from group administrators.
Aside from restricting developers from accessing Facebook, the social network will also be removing a tool that lets users search for other people using their email addresses or phone numbers.