Facebook’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, just posted an update about the company’s attempt to stop the bleeding from the Cambridge Analytica fallout. After it became known that the Trump-affiliated data firm exploited Facebook’s API to gain access to millions of users’ profiles, Mark Zuckerberg’s company has faced intensifying scrutiny.
Today, Schroepfer announced updates to the API, which will give developers less blunt power to poke around Facebook and use its back-end tools. This is a good beginning, although it’s likely Facebook won’t make any big changes: It’s entire business model is predicated on collecting user data and working with advertisers.
But hidden at the bottom of the blog post was an interesting addition: “In total, we believe the Facebook information of up to 87 million people–mostly in the US–may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.” This is a huge increase from an earlier estimate of around 50 million reported by the news media.
It seems with every new update, Facebook quietly owns up to more wrongdoing–and the extent of the damage is always worse than it was earlier described. Whether or not this is the full extent of the havoc wreaked by Cambridge Analytica is anyone’s guess, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook ups its estimated profile count even more.