65,000 Singapore Facebook users may have had personal data breached

This article is more than 12 months old

Information from the accounts of more than 65,000 Facebook users in Singapore might have been "improperly shared" with data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, the social media giant said yesterday, as the total number of affected users nearly doubled beyond what was originally estimated.

It has also prompted Singapore's privacy watchdog to look into the matter.

Facebook said in a statement yesterday that the information of 65,009 Facebook users here was likely affected in the growing data breach involving Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy firm which applies data mining and analysis to elections.

Facebook is now embroiled in a global scandal for its role in the breach, accused of not ensuring the security of its users' personal data. Cambridge Analytica is said to have exploited the data for commercial and political use.

Facebook's chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer said in an update on Wednesday that the total number of people who had their information improperly obtained and shared is now estimated to be 87 million - 37 million more than its initial figure of 50 million people.

The bulk of the affected accounts belong to North American Facebook users, which currently stand at over 70 million accounts which had their data compromised.

The Philippines is next, with 1.17 million affected, followed by Indonesia with 1.09 million andthe UK with 1.08 million.

Singapore's Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) is looking into the matter, said a spokesman.

"PDPC is concerned that individuals in Singapore are affected. We are looking into the matter and are in close contact with Facebook," the spokesman added. "Facebook users are encouraged to review their privacy settings in order to control how their information is used or shared."

From Monday, Facebook will also notify users, through a link on their accounts, if they were among those who have had their information shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Mr Evan Dumas, regional director for South-East Asia at cyber-security firm Check Point, said that although the incident has reduced trust in Facebook, people "continue to trade convenience for privacy".