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Nat’l Privacy Commission in talks with Facebook over data accessed by Cambridge Analytica

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) said Friday it is currently in talks with representatives of social media giant Facebook over possible data privacy violations amid reports that more than one million accounts of Filipinos may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

"On March 27, the NPC met with Facebook representatives to look into the matter and ascertain if and to what extent, Filipino users were affected," NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro told reporters at a briefing in Pasay City.

"Facebook told the NPC that 558,000 Filipino users installed the quiz app 'My Digital Life' of a certain Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, through which personal data may have been 'improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica... from this, 1,175,312 more Filipinos may have been subsequently affected via sharing," Liboro said.

This makes the Philippines as the second most affected country in terms of total number of data subjects, the NPC chief said.

Last month, Facebook acknowledge that personal information about millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica.

"Given this magnitude, the NPC required Facebook to provide updates on the measures taken to mitigate the risks that ensued from the controversy," Liboro said.

"The company said it plans to restrict data access of third parties on Facebook starting April 9. In the process, users shall also be notified if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica," he added.

The NPC chief said the agency is calling on Facebook to face Filipinos with a "new level of transparency."

"This should begin with their terms of service and settings that could be unclear to users," Liboro said.

"The process by which Facebook monitors third party app developers and tech providers who may have access to Filipino user data should also be looked into. This is to ensure that adequate protective nets are in place to guard against any abuse or misuse of data," he added.

The NPC chief said the agency assures the public that it will continue to look into the controversy to ensure that no further harm is done against data subjects.

"Facebook will be asked to shed more light on the matter and explain further its privacy policies and practices. We will involve the public in these discussions," Liboro said.


He called on Filipinos to exercise vigilance in using social media sites.

"Users should minimize the personal information they share online and maximize the use of existing privacy protection features and tools," Liboro said.

"We encourage the public to exercise a new level of care about their privacy and to take part in forming the future of Facebook in the country," he added. — RSJ, GMA News