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This week, Facebook has started to alert the estimated 87 million users affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, advising in the News Feed if personal data for an account was obtained by the company. For users of the social network who haven't yet seen a notification, there is a second way to manually check if their privacy was violated as part of the affair.
The main way users will find out if their details were acquired by Cambridge Analytica will be via a privacy warning at the top of their News Feed. For those affected, the notice explains the banning of the website "This Is Your Digital Life," which was used to capture user data, and was then provided to the political analysis firm, with the warning provided to those who used the site as well as friends and acquaintances who may also have been victim by proxy.
For other users unaffected by the event at all, the notice instead provides more general guidance for checking apps and websites that have access to their Facebook data.
As the notice will be slowly rolling out to users, with users in the UK starting to receive their notifications ahead of other countries, it may take some time before everyone who uses Facebook will find out if their personal data was shared via this method. The alternative way is to visit Facebook's support page titled "How can I tell if my info was shared with Cambridge Analytica?" which will provide a more immediate answer.
On that page, a box labeled "Was my information shared?" will display the results for the currently logged-in user. The contents of the box will change depending on if the user accessed the banned site, if their friends logged in, or if their data is safe.
In each case where some data was accessed, Facebook advises the type of content that was "likely shared" with the banned service. In cases where data was shared, Facebook advises this will include the public profile, page likes, birthday, and their current city.
Facebook also warns that a small number of users who logged into "This Is Your Digital Life" also shared their News Feed, timeline, posts, and messages, which may include posts and messages from friends. It is advised for all users, regardless of whether or not their data was involved in the Cambridge Analytica affair, to review and update the information they share with third-party services by checking their account settings.
AppleInsider has also produced a guide for reducing the amount of private information available on accounts, minimizing the data that could be acquired by analytical firms in the future.