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Facebook data leak could impact 60 000 SA users

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Almost 60 000 South African Facebook users could be impacted by the social network's recent data leak. This according to a Facebook spokesperson giving a local update on the data privacy scandal that first made headlines last month.

This week Facebook admitted 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.

In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app which was installed by around 300 000 people who shared their data as well as some of their friends' data. Kogan later shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica without user's consent, which was against Facebook's policies for developers.

A Facebook spokesperson says that 33 users in South Africa installed the app and 59 777 SA users are potentially impacted locally, "these being friends of those who would have installed the app elsewhere in the world".

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing rising public scrutiny over the leak and could also face a grilling from American legislators when he testifies before US Congress next week.

In a post on Facebook he outlined the measures the company is taking to make sure a similar situation does not happen again. One of those being that all users globally will see an alert on their Facebook page leading them to the apps setting where they can review the apps they've allowed to access to their data.

"Additionally, those potentially impacted by Cambridge Analytica will also see the alert with additional language which will then take them to see what data might have been shared," the spokesperson adds.

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