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Facebook to examine tens of thousands of apps for data misuse

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Mark Zuckerberg testifies in front of the Senate

Mark Zuckerberg testifies in front of the Senate

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Facebook will investigate tens of thousands of apps to discover if any other companies have accessed data in a similar way to Cambridge Analytica. It will look for misuses of personal information and then alert users if it finds anything suspicious. The announcement came from Facebook’s boss Mark Zuckerberg as he answered questions in front of the US Senate’s Judiciary and Commerce Committees yesterday.

Facebook had not taken a broad enough view of its responsibility for people’s public information, said Zuckerberg. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here,” he said.

The social network is in the process of letting up to 87 million users know that their information may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica. You can check if you were affected by clicking this link.

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When asked why the company did not immediately alert the 87 million users whose data may have been improperly accessed when first told about it in 2015, Zuckerberg said Facebook considered it a “closed case” after Cambridge Analytica said they had deleted it. “In retrospect it was clearly a mistake to believe them,” he said.

Cambridge Analytica insists it deleted the harvested data as soon as it was informed it breached Facebook’s terms of use.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica face multiple lawsuits over alleged misuse of personal information with at least five law firms in the UK and US investigating claims for compensation.

On the subject of fake news, Mr Zuckerberg said “one of my greatest regrets in running the company” was its slowness at uncovering and acting against disinformation campaigns by Russian trolls during the US election. He said the Russian campaign of disinformation had been discovered “right around the time” of the US presidential election, and said the company had developed “new AI tools” to identify fake accounts responsible. “You know there are people in Russia whose job is to exploit our systems… so this is an arms race,” he said.

Read more: Fallout from Facebook data scandal may hit health research

Read more: This is why it’s so hard to bring yourself to delete Facebook

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