Technology & Science

Facebook users can find out if they were part of privacy scandal

​Get ready to find out if your Facebook data was swept up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

It's estimated the personal information of 622,161 users in Canada was improperly used

Facebook will notify its users if they were one of the 87 million people who had their information shared with data firm Cambridge Analytica. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

Get ready to find out if your Facebook data was swept up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Starting Monday, the 87 million users who might have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica will get a detailed message on their news feeds. Facebook says 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 U.K.

Facebook also estimates the personal information of 622,161 users in Canada was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica.

You can check if your data was shared with Cambridge Analytica by clicking on this link on a new Facebook help page.

In addition, all 2.2 billion Facebook users will receive a notice titled "Protecting Your Information" with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. If they want, they can shut off apps individually or turn off third-party access to their apps completely.

The company said Friday that is has suspended AggregateIQ, the B.C. firm linked to Cambridge Analytica, from its platform following reports that the company may be connected to Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify in front of the U.S. Congress on Tuesday amid privacy concerns. (Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

AggregateIQ has said it has always complied with the law and has denied ever being part of Cambridge Analytica or SCL. It has also said it never entered into a contract with Cambridge Analytica, nor has it ever had access to Facebook data allegedly obtained improperly by Cambridge Analytica.

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. CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that he 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.

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie previously estimated that more than 50 million people were compromised by a personality quiz that collected data from users and their friends. In an interview aired Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Wylie said the true number could be even larger than 87 million.

That Facebook app, called "This is Your Digital Life," was a personality quiz created in 2014 by an academic researcher named Aleksander Kogan, who paid about 270,000 people to take it. The app vacuumed up not just the data of the people who took it, but also — thanks to Facebook's loose restrictions — data from their friends, too, including details that they hadn't intended to share publicly.

Facebook later limited the data apps can access, but it was too late in this case.

Zuckerberg said Facebook came up with the 87 million figure by calculating the maximum number of friends that users could have had while Kogan's app was collecting data. The company doesn't have logs going back that far, he said, so it can't know exactly how many people may have been affected.

Cambridge Analytica said in a statement Wednesday that it had data for only 30 million Facebook users.

With files from The Canadian Press