AG: Nearly 3 million Pennsylvanians impacted by Facebook privacy breach

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected]
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HARRISBURG – State Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Thursday announced that an investigation he is leading has determined 2,960,311 Pennsylvanians’ Facebook data was shared with Cambridge Analytica and other third parties.

Facebook provided this estimate in response to a bipartisan letter sent to the social network, an effort led by Shapiro that includes a total of 41 state Attorneys General. Facebook estimates it shared a total of 70.4 million American users’ data with third-party developers.

“Nearly a quarter of the Commonwealth’s residents — 22 percent — had their personal data compromised by Facebook’s privacy breach,” Shapiro said in a news release. “Social media users don’t expect to have their information given to third-party developers without their knowledge. Businesses like Facebook must take significant steps to better protect their users’ privacy and personal data.”

Shapiro said he is leading a national investigation with his colleagues to ensure Pennsylvanians and Americans are protected from this kind of unauthorized information sharing.

It is not yet known how many Facebook users there are overall in Pennsylvania.

In March, Shapiro led a coalition of Attorneys General in sending a letter demanding answers from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the company’s business practices and privacy protections. Facebook’s policies allowed developers to access the personal data of “friends” of people who used certain applications — without the knowledge or consent of the users.

This week, one of the third-party developers, Cambridge Analytica, announced it will shut down and enter bankruptcy proceedings in the United Kingdom.

Since the discovery of the data-sharing lapse, Facebook’s Zuckerberg has promised to tighten security protocol and crack down on data-mining companies who access the vast social network. Zuckerberg testified before the U.S. senators in April.

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By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]