The Delaware Department of Justice says that data provided by Facebook suggests that more than 200,000 people in Delaware using the social media platform may have had their personal data exposed in connection with the recently disclosed data breach.
In response to questions posed by Attorney General Matt Denn’s office and other state attorneys general investigating the privacy breach of Facebook information, the social media company estimated that up to 200,000 Delaware users were friends with individuals who had installed an app through which a research company gained access to personal information. Nearly 1000 Delawareans installed the app.
Questions remain around how and if the company, Global Science Research, may have improperly shared Facebook information of up to 87 million users worldwide with Cambridge Analytica and other third parties, according to the company’s public disclosures.
According to a release by the Department of Justice, Facebook’s estimates provided to the attorneys general showed that approximately 196,000 Facebook users in the United States downloaded the app, but more than 46 million Facebook users in America were friends with someone who had downloaded the app, thus were potentially exposed.
“This information about Delaware shows why protecting data on social networks is so important. Because of the many connections between people, a relatively small number of people using this app in Delaware, across the country and around the world opened the door to possible access to personal Facebook data of one-fifth of the state’s population,” Attorney General Denn said.
“The other attorneys general and I will continue to seek information from Facebook about the breach and about Facebook’s practices in the past and in the future with regards to securing personal data, and will make decisions about the next steps in our investigations. But this episode has already been a wake-up call for many to take a look at what social media has and shares about you,” he said.
The Department says users should minimize the number of apps that they have installed – users can go to Settings and click on “Apps and Settings” to see the apps they have installed and click to delete any of them.
Outside of Facebook, it is also recommended that people not use the option for many websites or apps offer to log in with their Facebook account, because that login allows data sharing between Facebook and the website or app.
Facebook users can access or download all the information Facebook has stored about them (files are generally very large) by following instructions at https://www.facebook.com/help/1701730696756992.