Govt examining FB, Analytica responses
New Delhi: The government is "examining" the responses furnished by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica on the data breach issue, while it keeps a close watch on global developments on the matter, a senior IT Ministry official said on Tuesday. The US social networking giant is facing intense scrutiny from its users as well as governments across the globe after a data leak scandal hit about 87 million users.
British data analytics and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica has been accused of harvesting personal information of millions of Facebook users illegally to help political campaigns and influence polls in several countries.
The Indian government too had shot-off notices to both the companies questioning them on the impact of the data breach, following which Facebook admitted that nearly 5.62 lakh people in India were "potentially affected" by the incident. Facebook has over 20 crore users in the country.
"The responses are being examined in the context of global developments," the official in IT Ministry said.
Noting that the data leak episode was global and the nature of irregularities involved were "by and large similar", the official said that the IT Ministry is keeping a close watch on the developments that are unfolding across countries that have been hit by the data fiasco.
In its reply to the Indian government's notice, Facebook had informed that "only 335 people" in India were directly affected through the installation of an app and another 5,62,120 people were "potentially affected" as friends of those users.
Cambridge Analytica, on the other hand, is believed to have responded saying it had not used the personal information of Indian users from Facebook. Facebook had said it is introducing a third-party fact-checking programme in India to combat the spread of "false news" on its platform.