Latest Facebook data breach affects 96 000 plus South Africans

15 May

The widely publicised Cambridge Analytica data breach has shaken the world. Many South Africans would have preferred to believe that they weren’t affected, but sadly this was not the case! In fact, the SA department of Justice’s Information Regulator sent a letter to Facebook requesting details and Facebook in turn responded that 96 134 South African’s had been affected by the breach.

You might be wondering how you, as a South African, became a victim. Quite simply, if you had participated in the “thisisyourdigitallife” personality test on Facebook, you unwittingly put yourself in a position to become just another stastic. The app used for the personality test was developed by Aleksandr Kogan, an academic at Cambridge University.

How Facebook put your information at risk

What’s interesting about this data breach is that any user who took part in the personality test actually put their own personal information at risk, but fault can always be debated.

While using the app, individuals shared information about their Facebook friends which made it possible for the app to easily collect information on them. The collected data was then shared with Cambridge Analytica by Kogan, which is in fact against Facebook’s terms of use.

What is particularly shocking is that the stats show that only 13 South African’s installed the app during its lifetime on the Facebook platform. While another 96 134 people, friends of people who had installed the app, were all put at risk as well.

Facebook takes responsibility

Facebook has openly communicated with the Information Regulator and has stated that it is implementing several policy changes to its current privacy and data sharing policies to ensure that users of Facebook can handle their personal information and sensitive data more effectively.

SA’s Information Regulator also takes responsibility

The Information Regulator also asked Facebook to contact all those affected by the breach so that they can be fully informed. It has also been agreed that a specialised task force will be created to ensure that such breaches are properly investigated and measures are set in place to prevent it happening again.

The task force will consist of representatives of the Hawks, the Association of Credit Bureaus, the National Credit Regulator and various government departments.

In the wake of the Masterdeeds breach which happened in October 2017, this type of initiative is much needed in South Africa.

Were you one of those affected by the data breach? Have you installed any apps from Facebook? How often do you check the terms when participating in polls, personality tests and games via Facebook?

Now is the time to start checking just how much information and data you are sharing, and with who. Let us know if you have been a victim of the Facebook data breach or similar breaches. We would love to hear your story.

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