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Mark Zuckerberg to testify to US Congress as Facebook indicates Cambridge Analytica accessed data from up to 87 million accounts

Facebook indicated in a blog post yesterday that information of up to 87 million people – 37 million more than originally revealed – may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook also reported that this may have included data of more than 300,000 Australians. The company’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, said the company would make major changes to the way third-parties can access data on the platform. He also said users would be informed if their information could have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica has disputed the revised figure, saying it licensed data for no more than 30 million accounts.

The disclosure comes in the wake of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreeing to testify before the United States Congress in the wake of public outcry over the scandal.

In an interview with Vox on Monday, Zuckerberg discussed changes the company was making to its governance practices, and how it was responding to ‘fake news’ and abuses of its platform, seen in the use of Russian-managed pages and accounts on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram to influence the 2016 US Presidential Election.

Zuckerberg, who is CEO and holds a controlling amount of voting shares in Facebook, has significant personal power. Asked to comment on whether, as a result, the governance structure makes him less accountable, Zuckerberg acknowledged the company had failed in the past to be transparent about issues on the platform.

The saga provides insight into the challenges facing company leadership, particularly in the technology sphere. Public trust in Facebook has taken a major blow in the past few weeks, with the company seeing a drop in value on the stock market of nearly USD$80 billion since the story first broke.

As a result of the information concerning Australian accounts, Australia’s acting privacy and information commissioner today also announced that her office is opening an investigation into whether Facebook has breached Australia’s privacy laws.

Zuckerberg is due to testify before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce, Science and Transportation Committees on 10 April, followed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on 11 April. We will have more updates to come!

Copyright 2019 K & L Gates

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About this Author

Warwick Andersen Technology Lawyer KL Gates
Attorney

Mr. Andersen is a senior corporate lawyer with a focus on commercial, technology and sourcing projects. He has advised on large scale outsourcing projects, technology agreements for both vendors and customers, corporate support, privacy and telecommunications regulatory work. He has acted for government departments, large listed companies, telecommunications companies and technology suppliers.

+61-2-9513-2508
Rob Pulham, KL Gates, Corporate technology requirements lawyer, contracts drafting attorney
Senior Associate

Mr. Pulham is a corporate and commercial lawyer. His practice includes advising clients in managing their technology requirements and contracts (including drafting, review and negotiation of contracts for the provision of technology products and services), providing advice regarding privacy, data protection and copyright law, marketing and advertising, website content and general commercial intellectual property advice.

Mr. Pulham's experience includes having worked for leading technology suppliers, large Australian financial institutions, and food and beverage manufacturers, as well as Australian and Victorian government agencies.

61-3-9640-4414
Allison Wallace, KL Gates, Commercial Technology and Sourcing lawyer, Australia

Allison Wallace is a lawyer in the Melbourne, Australia office of K&L Gates, working in the Commercial Technology and Sourcing Practice. 

61-3-9205-2095