April 14, 2018 8:00 am

No, you can’t cash in if your Facebook data was leaked to Cambridge Analytica

Guest are welcomed by people in Facebook shirts as they arrive at the Facebook Canadian Summit in Toronto on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.


Claim: Everyone on Facebook is entitled to up to US$17,500 each because of the Cambridge Analytica leak.

Circulation: 58,691 Facebook shares as of April 13, according to Newswhip, although the story has since been taken down.

Story continues below

Source: fbnewspost.com, a dodgy site that hasn’t been on our radar before now. Other offerings: Scuba Diver Hospitalized After Attempted Sex With Giant Clam (an undiagnosed seafood allergy wrecked the mood, apparently) and Generation Z is Snorting Condoms and Pulling them Back Out the Throat (Snopes says this is actually possible, calling the process “a hard thing to unsee,” but challenges the idea that a handful of YouTube videos count as a trend.)

READ MORE: Two-thirds of Canadians don’t trust Facebook with their data, Ipsos poll shows


The fbnewspost.com story is a quick cut-and-paste ripoff of this story from the British tabloid Metro, padded out with some cut-and-paste quotes from Mark Zuckerberg. A different editor might well have spiked the original story — it pointed out that compensating 50 million Facebook users at £12,500 ($22,455) each, which a law professor said was theoretically possible, would come to about twice the value of the company. Another lawyer put the possible payout at more like £500 ($900) under British data protection law (which would only apply to British Facebook users) and only if they could prove that they had suffered £500 worth of distress.

The fbnewspost.com story started to walk back the headline immediately from the first paragraph, saying the payouts would be limited to people whose data had been leaked, rather than all Facebook users. It also didn’t bother to convert from pounds to U.S. dollars after the headline, disorienting to U.S. readers.

The original fake story (if that label makes any sense) was then republished by a series of other dubious sites in a kind of secondary plagiarism.

h/t: Snopes

WATCH: A Facebook subscription fee? Tech expert says yes, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t too sure. How did we get here?

READ MORE: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak deleting Facebook account in wake of privacy crisis

In fake news news:

READ MORE: Sheryl Sandberg says Facebook should have audited Cambridge Analytica over user data

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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