Potential victims of data leak a staggering 5.62 lakh in India, admits FB

Potential victims of data leak a staggering 5.62 lakh in India, admits FB

US-based social media giant Facebook on Thursday admitted that around 5.62 lakh people in India were "potentially affected" by its global data breach involving Cambridge Analytica.

In its response to the Indian government's notice over data breach, Facebook said that the UK-based data mining firm Cambridge Analytica used its data without consent.

Potential victims higher

"Only 335 people" in India were directly affected through the installation of an app and another 5,62,120 people were "potentially affected" as friends of those users, Facebook said. Facebook has over 20 crore users in India.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had issued a notice to Facebook and Cambridge Analytics seeking details on the data breach.

Confirming that Facebook had replied, a senior Ministry official said the government would await a response from Cambridge Analytica before finalising the course of action. The company's response also included details of the change in privacy policies, the official said. It is learnt that Cambridge Analytics sought more time to reply to the government notice.

"Cambridge Analytica's acquisition of Facebook data through the app developed by Dr Aleksandr Kogan and his company Global Science Research Limited (GSR) happened without our authorisation and was an explicit violation of our Platform policies", FB spokesperson said.

"At no time did Facebook agree to Cambridge Analytica's use of any Facebook user data that may have been collected by this app, including with respect to users located in India," the spokesperson said.

The company said the total number of potentially impacted users (5,62,455) is 0.6 % of the global number of potentially affected people.

The app -- mydigitallife -- was installed by 335 people in India, which is estimated to be 0.1 % of the app's total worldwide installs.

Facebook's response comes a day after it said data of about 87 million people - mostly in the US - may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica has been accused of harvesting personal information of millions of Facebook users illegally to influence polls in several countries.

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