The new estimate, disclosed in a blog post where it detailed other plans to tighten privacy of its users' personal information, is higher than the estimate of 50 million people reported three weeks ago by The New York Times and The Observer.
The social network's latest disclosures are likely to heighten concerns about how it gave too-free access to its users' personal information and that efforts to roll back this access come too late. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been on the defensive and is now scheduled to testify next week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
In an hour-long call with reporters, Zuckerberg addressed these concerns while acknowledging how vulnerable users had been to malicious activity.
"It's clear now we didn't focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools for harm," he said. "We didn't take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is, and that was a huge mistake. It was my mistake."
Zuckerberg's April 11 appearance before the committee will be his first congressional appearance, but not likely his last. Discussions continue into Zuckerberg's appearance before two other congressional committees: the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees.
Facebook last month disclosed it knew Cambridge Analytica had obtained personal information from hundreds of thousands of users who had downloaded a personality profile app that then passed it on to the firm, which says it had assisted Donald Trump in his successful presidential campaign. Cambridge Analytica denies using any ill-gotten Facebook data in those efforts and repeated that defense Wednesday.
The situation has resulted in an investigation into Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from 37 states and territories calling for information from the company on its data security procedures.
Even before news arose of this massive data-mining operation of Facebook users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had pledged to spend 2018 attempting to counter various concerns facing the social network. Among them: fabricated news that misled millions, live broadcasts of homicides and terrorism, racist targeting of ads, troubling search results and Russian manipulation.
The increased estimate follows a disconcerting pattern for Facebook when it's come to disclosing practices that have violated its users' privacy.
Zuckerberg, after initially calling suggestions that "fake news" on Facebook influenced the election in any way "pretty crazy," later backtracked and apologized. Under pressure from lawmakers' last fall, Facebook executives testified and released increasingly higher estimates on the extent and breadth of Russian manipulation on the platform. Just this Tuesday, Facebook again disclosed it had found more Russian-organized fake accounts and posts on its platform and its Instagram service.On Wednesday, Zuckerberg again apologized for initially dismissing the worries about faked news
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