April 4, 2018 4:10 pm
Updated: April 5, 2018 8:41 am

Over 600,000 Canadians’ Facebook data shared with Cambridge Analytica in data leak

WATCH: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg offers public apology over data breach

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Facebook says as many as 87 million people may have had their data accessed in the Cambridge Analytica scandal – an increase from the 50 million disclosed in published reports.

And about 622,000 of those users were in Canada, a Facebook spokesperson said Wednesday. He could not provide a more detailed regional breakdown.

Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm affiliated with President Donald Trump’s campaign, has been accused of using ill-gotten data from Facebook users to try to influence elections.

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This coming Monday, all Facebook users will receive a notice on their Facebook feeds with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. They’ll have a chance to delete apps they no longer want.

READ MORE: Here’s how to download your Facebook data, and why you’ll probably want to

Users who had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica will be told of that within that notice. Facebook says most of the affected users are in the U.S.

On Wednesday, Facebook said it was restricting the user data it allows outsiders to access as part of steps it’s taking to address the fallout from its worst privacy crisis in years.

WATCH: Canadian company directly involved in growing Facebook scandal

The company is reeling from news that a Trump-affiliated data-mining firm used ill-gotten data from millions of users to try to influence elections. Facebook says as many as 87 million people may have had their data accessed – an increase from the 50 million disclosed in published reports.

READ MORE: Here’s how to shut intrusive apps out of your Facebook account

Among the latest changes: Facebook is restricting access that apps can get about users’ events, as well as information about groups such as member lists and content.

In addition, the company is also removing the option to search for users by entering a phone number or an email address. While this helped individuals find friends who may have a common name, Facebook says businesses that had phone or email information on customers were able to collect profile information this way.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg is admitting to mistakes and says his company hasn’t taken a broad enough view of what its responsibility is in the world.

WATCH: How Facebook data made psychological profiles

In a call with media on Wednesday, Zuckerberg calls this a “huge mistake” and added, “it’s my mistake.”

Referring to the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, he said that it isn’t enough for Facebook to believe app developers when they say they follow the rules. He says Facebook has to ensure they do.

READ MORE: Facebook VP says in memo ‘connecting people’ should be prioritized over all else: reports

Facebook’s new privacy policy aims to explain the data it gathers on users more clearly – but doesn’t actually change what it collects and shares.

The company unveiled the revisions Wednesday as it faces one of its worst privacy scandals in history. Although Facebook says the changes aren’t prompted by recent events, it’s an opportune time. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also set to testify before the U.S. Congress next week for the first time.

Among Wednesday’s changes: Facebook has added a section explaining that it collects people’s contact information, which may include call logs and text histories. The previous policy did not mention call logs or text histories. Several users were surprised to learn recently that Facebook had been collecting such data.

After word of the breach surfaced last month, Canada’s privacy commissioner launched an investigation to determine whether Facebook respected the federal privacy law covering private companies.

Canada’s acting minister for democratic institutions has also said he’d be open to strengthening federal privacy laws, which don’t currently apply to political parties.

With files from Global News and The Canadian Press

Facebook has promised to “do better” in several newspaper advertisements taken out on Monday, but failed to mention the firm Cambridge Analytica by name in them.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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