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Have you received your Cambridge Analytica warning yet?

Facebook on Tablet

Have you received your Cambridge Analytica warning yet?

If you haven’t already, you should soon be receiving one of two messages when you log in to your Facebook account, informing you of whether or not your data was shared with exposed analyst Cambridge Analytica.

As is often the case with Facebook though, it’s not quite as straightforward as it might be. While many sources (including the BBC) report that “every account holder” will receive one of these notifications, others, such as Pocket-lint.com, state that only users of the Facebook mobile app will see it. If the latter is correct, it means that many people who want to know if their data has been used will need to download an app to their phone – not ideal for people who are already concerned about what the social media site knows about them!

Anyway, as of yesterday, Facebook users have started seeing one of the two below alerts when they log in:

Facebook screens

It would seem that if you get the message on the left, you haven’t been involved in the recently emerged data sharing scandal. You will simply be directed to the ‘Apps and Websites’ area of Facebook – a section that has previously been difficult to find as it has been kept away from the ‘Privacy’ section – and invited to change your settings.

The message on the right, however, suggests that you are one of the estimated one million Brits whose data was gathered by Cambridge Analytica. The source of the data capture appears to be a website called ‘This Is Your Digital Life’.

In addition, Facebook has attempted to shore up its guardianship of data by suspending Cubeyou, a consumer insights firm currently under investigation. Facebook wants to determine whether Cubeyou used data commercially when it was intended for academic research.

American news network CNBC originally made the accusation and more information about it can be found in this article. Both Cubeyou and Cambridge University, the two of which worked in partnership with one another, argue that both the academic and business purposes behind the app were made clear in the terms and conditions.

The move is certainly a step in the right direction from Facebook, although the way to tackle concerns about data security is not to force users to download an app they don’t want and won’t use. There is also the argument that Cambridge Analytica is being made a scapegoat by Facebook, with the incident being treated as an isolated breach rather than a symptom of a wider problem.

John Murray

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