Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova is in touch with Facebook “to arrange for high-level contacts in the coming days”. Her spokesman Christian Wigand told reporters in Brussels on April 5 that Facebook contacted the EU in response to a letter from Jourova last month.
Facebook said data on as many as 87m people, most of them in the United States, may have been improperly shared with research firm Cambridge Analytica.
As reported by Bloomberg, this is Facebook’s first official confirmation of the possible scope of the data leak, which was previously estimated at roughly 50m. It has resulted in calls from legislators and policymakers for greater regulation of social media, helping to shave billions of dollars from the company’s market value.
“The growing scale of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook case is very worrying, 87mln people were affected, also from EU,” Jourova said in a tweet on April 5. “Facebook needs to step up the response and protect the European data.”
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment on the EU statements.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has apologised and promised to investigate whether Cambridge Analytica still holds the information it obtained from a third-party app creator and to broaden the probe to other developers who harvest data. On a conference call with reporters on April 4, Zuckerberg said his company “didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm as well”.
On April 5, Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s privacy commissioner, said Facebook has been cooperating with regulators and while she welcomed the changes the company is making, she said “it is too early to say whether they are sufficient under the law”.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook plans “to make all the same controls and settings available everywhere, not just in Europe”.
“We need to figure out what makes sense in different markets with the different laws and different places. But – let me repeat this – we’ll make all controls and settings the same everywhere, not just in Europe.”