Breaking news: Cambridge Analytica received private data from 50 million Facebook profiles during 2016 elections

Copyright: 124rf/Marcel De Grijs

Cambridge Analytica, a political research company linked to President Donald Trump, has been found to have accessed the private information of 50 million Facebook users’ profiles during the 2016 United States presidential campaign. The information from these profiles were gathered without user consent.

The research company then used this data to create targeted political advertisements on Facebook.

At this time, Facebook allows third party users (advertisers) to collect data from Facebook users. This privacy breach once again brings Facebook under the pressure for how it handles users’ data and what data it allows third party advertisers access to.

The office of Massachusetts’ Attorney General Maura Healey is launching an investigation into the breach.

While the details of this breach continue to be investigated, there’s no better time than the present to learn how to stay safe while using Facebook. Start with these suggestions.

  • Update your privacy settings. Facebook’s privacy settings are constantly changing and the lines between what is private to you, your friends and the public shifts frequently. Be sure your profile is safeguarding your private information. Read this, this and this to learn how to stay safe while using the site.
  • Don’t click on advertisements. If you see an ad on Facebook that interests you, either type the site link directly into your browser or search for it on Google. This way Facebook advertisers won’t receive your profile and information.
  • Be careful what you click and share. Some of the fun quizzes or puzzles you’ll see your friends sharing will actually receive your profile’s private information or allow a third party to view your profile if you click on them. Avoid clicking on these types of posts.