Over 6,000 Maltese Facebook users' data were harvested by Cambridge Analytica

User data from Maltese Facebook users was harvested through an app that was then passed on to the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica

Just over 6,000 Maltese users' Facebook data was shared with analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, the European Commission announced on Friday.

 

Facebook said that personal data from around 2.7 million Facebook users in the EU was shared with Cambridge Analytica, in a letter to EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova.

“Unfortunately some explanations fall short of my expectations. It’s clear that data of Europeans have been exposed to a huge risk and I am not sure if Facebook took all the necessary steps to implement change,” Jourova said on Friday.

The company was responding to an earlier letter that Jourova sent to the social media platform on 23 March, in which she demanded explanations about its knowledge of Cambridge Analytica’s alleged harvesting of up to 87 million Facebook users’ profiles for its work on political campaigns.

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie alleged last month that Facebook users’ data was analysed without their knowledge, and that the UK-based company worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Leave campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Then Facebook letter did not include details confirming how many Facebook users in each EU country were affected by the data harvesting.

A Facebook spokeswoman said that Cambridge Analytica collected data from 1,079,031 in the UK and a total of 309,815 users in Germany.

Users of the social media platform were affected in all 28 EU member states.

In Italy, 214,134 users were affected, and in France, 211,667. A total of 136,985 users in Spain had their data scooped up, and 112,421 in Romania.

In the Netherlands, 89,373 users were affected, and 63,080 in Portugal. 60,957 Belgians’ profiles were harvested, and 59,480 Greeks’. In Poland, 57,138 users were affected; in Sweden, 55,337; in Ireland, 44,702; in Denmark, 41,820; in Bulgaria, 35,718; in Austria, 33,568; in Hungary, 32,067; in the Czech Republic, 29,376, in Croatia, 21,517; in Finland, 19,693, in Lithuania, 15,123; in Slovakia, 14,846, in Slovenia, 11,255; in Cyprus, 7,455; in Malta, 6,011; in Estonia, 5,510; in Latvia, 4,757, and in Luxembourg, 2,645.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday that the company had made mistakes in its handling of the incident. He said Cambridge Analytica’s collection of profile data through an app broke Facebook’s terms and conditions, which the analytics firm has denied.

Zuckerberg also said that Facebook will step up its privacy settings and apply the EU’s strict new data protection regulation, known as the GDPR, worldwide.

In response to backlash over the scandal, the company announced last month that it would shut down a feature that allows companies to collect Facebook users’ data in order to target them with advertising and other information. The company also changed its user terms to make its privacy policy easier to understand.

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