Although 78 Facebook users in Nigeria installed the Cambridge Analytica (CA) app, the potential impact has affected about 271, 469 people in the country, according to the social media platform.
Facebook, yesterday began the process of notifying 87 million users, which it claimed might have had their data shared with the app.
The communications team of the social media platform disclosed that the 271,469 users were potentially impacted in Nigeria (these being friends of those who would have installed the app elsewhere in the world). There are currently 23 million daily users of Facebook in Nigeria.
From a technical perspective, those said to have downloaded the app and those potentially impacted, were profiled by Facebook and were able to have their behaviours change based on the information provided online.
This means that the about100 million Internet users in the country must be wary of the kinds of applications they download and at the same time be wary of the online platforms they provide their information.
This is because there are platforms backhauls that house information provided online, especially with a porous cyberspace such as Nigeria.
It was alleged that Cambridge Analytica sought to influence the Nigerian presidential election in 2015 by using graphically violent imagery to portray a candidate as a supporter of sharia law who would brutally suppress dissenters and negotiate with militant Islamists, a video passed to British MPs reveals.
Facebook admitted it may have “improperly shared” the personal data of up to 2.7 million people in the European Union (EU).
The firm said that starting from yesterday, all 2.2 billion Facebook users would receive a notice on their feeds, titled ‘Protecting your information,’ with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps.
It also said if users want, they can shut off apps individually or turn off third-party access to their apps completely.
“In addition, the 87 million users who might have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica will get a more detailed message informing them of this,” it stated.
Facebook said most of the affected users (more than 70 million) are in the U.S., though there are over a million each in the Philippines, Indonesia and the UK.
Reeling from its worst privacy crisis in history – allegations that this Trump-affiliated data mining firm may have used ill-gotten user data to try to influence elections – Facebook is in full damage-control mode, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledging he’s made a “huge mistake” in failing to take a broad enough view of what Facebook’s responsibility is in the world. He’s set to testify before Congress this week.
Facebook encourage people to manage the apps they use. “We already show people what apps their accounts are connected to and control what data they’ve permitted those apps to use through app settings.
We are putting a link at the top of people’s News Feeds to make sure that everyone sees it.”
In terms of measures taken, Zuckerberg outlined in his post, “Facebook is taking numerous measures. One of those being that everyone globally on their Facebook page will see an alert leading them to the apps setting where they can review the apps they’ve allowed to access to their data.
“Additionally, those potentially impacted by CA will also see the alert which will then take them to see what data might have been shared.”
Commenting on the development, the Director-General, Delta State Innovation Hub, Chris Uwaje, said: “Let me state with all sense of responsibility that it is practically impossible for the human mind to think about nothing.
And consequently, the greatest challenge to human development at the global leadership levels is the daunting and adventurous task to control the human mind for a specific purpose.
“Cambridge Analytica app is a technology research tool programmed and deployed to achieve the mind-game change – with potential capacity of delivering regime change and/or leadership change at many critical levels. This model of information twisting to achieve undemocratic mission is wrapped with potential danger in various forms.”
According to him, this is capable of endangering national economies and development agenda in emerging markets.
“For a blatant consumer nation such as Nigeria, the effect can be very fatal. We need to build massive software kills to minimise the emerging effects.
However, when applied purposefully, analytics built on logical algorithm is a useful tool for human development. For example, if applied to education, merit will be enthroned for sustainable national development,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Facebook has announced that changes are being made to make election ads and pages more transparent on its platform and Instagram.
These changes, according to the company, are designed to increase transparency and accountability as well as prevent election interference.
As such, people managing pages with large numbers of followers would need to be verified and those unsuccessful with the verification process would no longer be able to post, Facebook said.
The company said, “This will make it much harder for people to administer a page using a fake account, which is strictly against our policies.”
A statement released by the Vice President, Ads, Rob Goldman, and Vice President, Local and Pages, Alex Himel, stated, “We believe that when you visit a page or see an ad on Facebook, it should be clear about who it’s coming from.
We also think it’s important for people to be able to see the other ads a page is running, even if they’re not directed at you.”