According to Facebook around 87 million people were caught up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the political consultation firm exploit user data without being fully transparent about what it was doing. For the past few weeks people have been in a limbo-state about whether they were personally affected by the breach, but as of noon today Facebook's finally going to start informing people.
While the majority of users affected by the company overextending its reach were in the US, there are still around one million Facebook users in the UK that had their data exposed. This afternoon people will start seeing one of two messages when they log into the social network. If you get on the one on the left, you're in the clear and don't have to worry about a third party soaking up your data when it shouldn't have. If you got the one on the right, then sadly Cambridge Analytica collected your information and used it for whatever nefarious reasons.
Just waking up in the UK? From around noon you'll see one of these two messages when you go on Facebook. If you get the one on the right, it means you were one of the 1m-or-so British-based users apparently scooped up by Cambridge Analytica pic.twitter.com/HdGMOZn3iX
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeBBC) April 9, 2018
Obviously just because you're in the clear for now doesn't mean you shouldn't take the time to lock down your account's privacy settings, especially since Facebook claims will become more streamlined at some point in the near future. That doesn't seem to have happened yet, or at least if it has that update hasn't rolled out to my account which looks the same as it's always been.
It's also worth remembering that even though Facebook has announced it's going to be more vigilant about third parties soaking up your data, that isn't going to stop Facebook itself from building complex profiles about you. The whole point of Facebook is that you hand over your information, and in exchange for people able to share memes with your grandma it will use your information to serve you personalised adverts. As the saying goes, if you;re not paying for a service you're the product that's being sold. Nowhere is that more true than social media, particularly Facebook.