Personal information leak hits 87 million users, widening privacy scandal: Facebook

Vastavam web: Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Wednesday that the personal information of up to 87 million users, mostly in the United States, may have been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, up from a previous news media estimate of more than 50 million.Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call with reporters that Facebook had not seen “any meaningful impact” on usage or ad sales since the scandal, although he added, “it’s not good” if people are unhappy with the company.

“When you’re building something like Facebook that is unprecedented in the world, there are going to be things that you mess up,” Zuckerberg said, adding that the important thing was to learn from mistakes.He said he was not aware of any discussions on the Facebook board about him stepping down, although directors would face a challenge if they wanted to oust him because Zuckerberg is the controlling shareholder.Facebook first acknowledged last month that personal information about millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica.

Zuckerberg will testify about the matter next week before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.Zuckerberg, on the call with reporters, said Facebook should have done more to audit and oversee third-party app developers like the one that Cambridge Analytica hired in 2014.Going forward, he said, Facebook was taking steps to restrict which personal data is available to third-party app developers, and he said it might take two more years to fix Facebook’s problems.

Most of the up to 87 million people whose data was shared with Cambridge Analytica were in the United States, Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer wrote in a blog post. Shares in Facebook closed down 0.6 percent on Wednesday to $155.10. They have tumbled more than 16 percent since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.

The previous estimate of more than 50 million Facebook users affected by the data leak came from two newspapers, the New York Times and London’s Observer, based on their investigations of Cambridge Analytica.Cambridge Analytica has said that it engaged Kogan “in good faith” to collect Facebook data in a manner similar to how other third-party app developers have harvested personal information.

The scandal has kicked off investigations by Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and by some 37 U.S. state attorneys general.