Your Facebook data scandal questions answered

Mark Zuckerberg may have ...

Posted: Apr 11, 2018 3:31 PM
Updated: Apr 11, 2018 3:31 PM

Mark Zuckerberg may have emerged unscathed from his first marathon Senate hearing, but his appearance left many questions unanswered.

For five hours on Tuesday, the Facebook CEO and founder was questioned by members of Congress on its role in allowing Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political data firm that worked for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, to improperly access data on 87 million people. (He's before Congress again on Wednesday).

But many Facebook users still have questions about what the data scandal means, from what to do if an account is affected, to whether or not Facebook is selling user data to advertisers. We tackle questions from CNN readers below.

Want to submit a question? Send it in here. It could be featured in a future story.

How can I check if my data was compromised by Cambridge Analytica?

Users can see if their information was shared with Cambridge Analytica via a dedicated link.

Facebook is rolling out a message at the top of News Feeds to let users know if they're among those affected. Users who were not affected may see a different pop-up alert showing which apps are connected to their Facebook accounts and what data those third parties can see. The link directs users to a tool that allows them to disconnect apps from their accounts.

Why am I affected?

In 2014, about 270,000 people accessed a personality quiz from an app called This is Your Digital Life. Those who participated unknowingly shared personal information -- including birthdays, pages they've liked and in some cases, even private messages -- to Cambridge Analytica.

The process also shared the data of their Facebook friends. This means even if you didn't take the quiz, and your Facebook friend did, you're likely affected.

News of the improper collection surfaced last month.

What should I do if I was affected?

Unfortunately, there's not much users can do right now.

Facebook is directing people to its Settings page to see which apps are connected to their accounts, such as Spotify and Airbnb. Users can manually remove those apps to make sure new data isn't shared.

"[Users] will also be able to see what apps they have deleted in the past," a spokesperson said.

It's also possible to see the data Facebook has collected on them over the years. This includes old messages, poke history and which advertisers have access to your data.

To see your data profile, go to Settings > General > Download a copy of your Facebook data.

Do I have to have an active Facebook account to find out if my personal data was harvested?

Yes.

If an account was deleted, Facebook cannot verify whether that data was accessed by Cambridge Analytica, according to the social network.

If I permanently delete my account, does Facebook still have my data?

When asked by a Senator if Facebook deletes user data when someone deletes their account, Zuckerberg said yes.

But the full answer is a bit more complicated.

If you permanently delete your account, you won't be able to access any information or content you've shared in the past. However, some third-party apps may still have access to some of it.

Even when you delete your account, it can take up to 90 days for Facebook to remove the content like photos and updates stored in backup systems. But some information, such as messaging history, can still be seen by the Facebook user you wrote to even after your account was deleted.

"Copies of some material (example: log records) may remain in our database but are disassociated from personal identifiers," the company says.

But third-party apps will still have access to previously collected personal data even if a user permanently deletes their Facebook account. For example, an app that was once connected to a profile, such as Uber or Airbnb, could still have access to information like a user's friends list from 2013. The information stored depends on what access and permissions the user gives the app.

What is Facebook doing to prevent election meddling in US elections?

During his testimony on Tuesday, Zuckerberg said it's one of his "top priorities" to "get this right."

"One of my greatest regrets is we were slow in identifying the Russian operations in 2016," Zuckerberg said.

Facebook has been under fire for allowing fake news and political ads linked to the Internet Research Agency -- a St. Petersburg-based troll farm with ties to the Russian government -- to spread during the 2016 election.

Last week, the company announced it will soon label political and issue ads, and show who paid for them. Facebook will also require anyone who wants to run a political or issue ad to verify their identity and location.

In an interview with Vox, Zuckerberg pointed to Facebook's efforts during the French elections in 2017. The company developed new artificial intelligence tools to detect and delete fake accounts spreading misinformation. Meanwhile, during the special Senate election in Alabama last year, Facebook rolled out tools to target fake accounts spreading fake news.

Does Facebook sell my data to advertisers?

"We do not sell data to advertisers," Zuckerberg said during Tuesday's hearing.

However, Facebook uses information people provide - such as their age, gender and interests - to target ads to a specific audience. Advertisers tell Facebook which demographics they want to reach, and then the social media giant places the ads on related accounts.

Ads likely cost more based on how specific marketers want to get.

Although Facebook doesn't directly sell your data to outside parties, it does make money from it. The company's advertising revenue jumped 49% to $40 billion in 2017.

Why didn't Zuckerberg testify before UK lawmakers?

Facebook hasn't said why.

British lawmakers called on Zuckerberg to testify after the New York Times and UK media first reported about the Cambridge Analytica revelations.

"It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process. There is a strong public interest test regarding user protection," Damian Collins, chair of the UK parliament's media committee, wrote in a letter to Zuckerberg.

In a response to UK lawmakers, Facebook said it would make two senior executives available to testify instead, Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox. Both report directly to Zuckerberg.

Schroepfer is scheduled to testify on April 26 before the UK parliament's media committee.

CNN's Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.

Huntsville/Redstone
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 34°
Muscle Shoals
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 32°
Huntsville/Madison
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 30°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 31°
Fort Payne
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 29°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 426543

Reported Deaths: 6126
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62752920
Mobile30551554
Madison27303186
Tuscaloosa20835267
Montgomery19192305
Shelby18693114
Baldwin16513183
Lee12603101
Morgan12321113
Etowah11805168
Calhoun11206200
Marshall10236107
Houston8681148
Cullman8094105
Limestone807474
Elmore7923101
DeKalb771597
Lauderdale763183
St. Clair7599120
Talladega6224108
Walker5930174
Jackson583741
Colbert535473
Blount532083
Autauga522755
Coffee446256
Dale399781
Franklin368148
Chilton337865
Russell335910
Covington330168
Escambia321342
Dallas305196
Chambers288669
Clarke283133
Tallapoosa2630107
Pike251329
Marion247350
Lawrence245247
Winston229035
Bibb217047
Geneva203335
Marengo200829
Pickens196931
Hale177442
Barbour173836
Fayette171226
Butler170758
Cherokee160930
Henry155021
Monroe147317
Randolph141535
Washington138326
Clay127045
Crenshaw120244
Cleburne118423
Lamar118419
Macon116835
Lowndes111535
Wilcox103621
Bullock99728
Perry98219
Conecuh95120
Sumter89526
Greene76223
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 690065

Reported Deaths: 8471
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby767471128
Davidson71148672
Knox38985408
Hamilton34813329
Rutherford33298287
Unassigned22950127
Williamson21507140
Sumner18322232
Out of TN1618380
Wilson14511158
Montgomery14507149
Sullivan12634211
Blount12029126
Washington11949192
Maury11003123
Bradley1083891
Sevier10534108
Putnam9968140
Madison9163179
Robertson766685
Hamblen7018109
Anderson6818104
Greene6615108
Tipton622665
Gibson5656111
Coffee564882
Cumberland542173
Dickson540479
Bedford532889
Roane522979
Carter5115114
Lawrence511469
McMinn510073
Warren500053
Loudon497450
Jefferson480875
Dyer477282
Monroe459462
Hawkins448170
Franklin413062
Obion400580
Fayette399351
Rhea382856
Lincoln379844
Marshall346336
Cocke345656
Weakley341248
Cheatham338130
Henderson333857
Campbell325840
Giles323072
Carroll312759
White311743
Hardeman310452
Hardin298947
Lauderdale294331
Macon289350
Wayne262219
Henry261958
Overton254643
DeKalb242741
McNairy241042
Haywood240645
Smith231727
Marion229231
Trousdale228914
Scott226231
Hickman224934
Claiborne215929
Fentress213231
Grainger209636
Johnson202232
Morgan189815
Crockett180938
Bledsoe174910
Chester174837
Unicoi167944
Cannon158119
Lake156019
Decatur147726
Polk143817
Union139923
Grundy139321
Sequatchie137618
Humphreys133517
Benton132435
Lewis127720
Meigs114916
Stewart105820
Jackson104322
Perry94825
Clay94026
Houston93922
Moore8089
Pickett68020
Van Buren6637
Hancock4056

Community Events