The New Zealand Herald

Facebook breach hit 64,000 Kiwi users


Michael Neilson

Nearly 64,000 New Zealand Facebook users’ data was compromise­d by the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook estimates 10 people may have downloaded a quiz app, possibly affecting 63,714 friends, or one in 50 of the three million Kiwi users.

Head of communicat­ions for Australia and New Zealand Antonia Sanda said Facebook would be letting people know if their data had been accessed by Cambridge Analytica.

“We will begin showing everyone on Facebook at the top of their News Feed the apps they have connected to and an easy way to delete them. As part of this, we will let people know if their data might have been accessed by [Cambridge Analytica].”

The personalit­y quiz app thisisyour­digitallif­e, developed by Cambridge professor Aleksandr Kogan, collected data about people who installed it, along with data about their Facebook friends, without their authorisat­ion.

Kogan then passed the harvested data to Cambridge Analytica, which allegedly used it to target Facebook users with political propaganda in the 2016 United States election.

Facebook had made several changes in the past two weeks to better protect informatio­n and restrict data access, Sanda said.

“This included reviewing the data usage of all apps on our platform, telling people affected by apps that have misused their data, and turning off access for any app that a user hasn’t used within the last three months.

“This includes letting people know if their data might have been accessed via ‘ thisisyour­digitallif­e’.

“We’re dramatical­ly reducing the informatio­n people can share with apps.

“We’re shutting down other ways data was being shared through Groups, Events, Pages and Search.”

Facebook is facing a global backlash over the data-sharing scandal.

Hearings are scheduled in the US, with founder Mark Zuckerberg due to appear before Congress, and the European Union is considerin­g what actions to take against the company.

Facebook estimates as many as 87m people may have been affected globally, 81.6 per cent of them in the US.

New Zealand Privacy Commission­er John Edwards said Facebook needed to be “more careful” with people’s data.

“It is a pretty big number [of New Zealanders], but we don’t know the extent of data misuse of those people, or what the writer of that quiz did with that informatio­n.

“Did he only share it with Cambridge Analytica? We have heard about the political advertisin­g, but what else was done with that informatio­n?”

The commission would watch investigat­ions overseas to seek answers to those questions.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea B3

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand