One-Fifth of Delawareans May Have Had Facebook Data Exposed

According to data released from Facebook to the Delaware Department of Justice, more than 200,000 people in Delaware may have had their personal data exposed as part of the recently disclosed Facebook data breach.

The estimate of the possible extent of the data breach in Delaware came from responses by Facebook to questions posed by Attorney General Matt Denn’s office and other state attorneys general who are conducting investigations of the breach of personal privacy involving Facebook information. Global Science Research may have improperly shared Facebook information of up to 87 million users worldwide with Cambridge Analytica and other third parties, according to the company’s public disclosures.

In Delaware, Facebook estimated 902 users installed the app through which Global Science Research gained access to personal information of those users and of those users friends. Facebook estimated that up to 200,651 users in Delaware were friends with people on Facebook who had installed the app.

Facebook’s estimates provided to the attorneys general showed that approximately 196,000 Facebook users in the United States downloaded the app, but more than 46 million Facebook users in America were friends with someone who had downloaded the app, thus were potentially exposed.

“This information about Delaware shows why protecting data on social networks is so important. Because of the many connections between people, a relatively small number of people using this app in Delaware, across the country and around the world opened the door to possible access to personal Facebook data of one-fifth of the state’s population,” Attorney General Denn said. “The other attorneys general and I will continue to seek information from Facebook about the breach and about Facebook’s practices in the past and in the future with regards to securing personal data, and will make decisions about the next steps in our investigations. But this episode has already been a wake-up call for many to take a look at what social media has and shares about you.”

While some people have chosen to delete their Facebook account, there are other steps that can be taken to reduce information shared about you through third-party apps. Experts say users should minimize the number of apps that they have installed – users can go to Settings and click on “Apps and Settings” to see the apps they have installed and click to delete any of them. Outside of Facebook, it is also recommended that people not use the option for many websites or apps offer to log in with their Facebook account, because that login allows data sharing between Facebook and the website or app.

Facebook users can access or download all the information Facebook has stored about them (files are generally very large) by following instructions here.