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Rising to Its Own Defence: Facebook Claims That Indonesian User Data Was Not Misused

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The recent Cambridge Analytica case where 87 million Facebook users faced a breach of their privacy with their personal data being accessed by Cambridge Analytica through a personality quiz had brought Facebook to poor light. Following the privacy debacle, investigations were sparked across the United States, Australia, Europe, and even Indonesia. Given that back in April, a Facebook official had told in Parliament that about 1,096,666 Facebook users in Indonesia (that makes for 1.26% of the global total) may have had their personal data leaked, which called for a serious question mark on the management of the user privacy policy by the Facebook team. This caused a serious repercussion for Facebook as Communications Minister Rudiantara stated that Facebook would be shut down in Indonesia (albeit temporarily) if the possibility of the user privacy breach in Indonesia turned out to be true.

However, on Thursday, putting up its defense, Facebook told Reuters that the numbers only showed the number of Indonesian users “who could potentially have had their data accessed, not necessarily misused”, thereby indicating that the gravity of the debacle was somewhat of a lesser magnitude than it was put up to be.

Facebook has reported to the Communications Ministry that no data from any Indonesian users was collected. – Semuel Pangerapan, Communications Minister stated on the same

Moreover, adding to its defense, Facebook stated, referring to the researcher linked with the scandal: “Both public records and existing evidence strongly indicate Aleksandr Kogan did not provide Cambridge Analytica or (its parent) SCL with data on people who use Facebook in Indonesia.”

Per Facebook, the controversial app by Kogan on the Cambridge Analytica platform was downloaded by 270,000 people, giving access to their and their friends’ personal data.

And although Pangerapan believed that Facebook would provide options to restrict data access, he kept tight-lipped on whether the inquiry would be continued or not.

But, things didn’t calm for Facebook as the Indonesian communications ministry sent a letter to the company in April seeking confirmation on technical measures to limit access to personal data in Facebook, and more information on an audit the social media giant was doing.

And all has still not been made good as on Wednesday, Britain’s information issued a symbolic fine of 500,000 pounds on Facebook on a charge of breaches of data protection law, being the first legal punitive move against Facebook.

It’s high time that Facebook rises up to the occasion and takes rock-solid technical measures to ensure the safety of its user privacy.


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