Here’s How To Tell If Your Personal Facebook Data Was Accessed

Today's the day.

It’s like a weird, unlucky bingo: from today, more than 300,000 Australians will be told by Facebook that Cambridge Analytica used their personal data. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Cambridge Analytica And Why Should I Care?

You know how before you access a game (or any other application) in Facebook, it asks permission to also access a bunch of your information?


Cambridge Analytica had the idea to turn that information into a political weapon. Back when Donald Trump was running for President, his campaign used the company to help create an insanely precise marketing tool. The data could help political operatives determine how someone would vote, and how persuadable they would be to different pro-Trump messages.

You can check out Junkee’s full explainer on what happened here.

There were some pretty big flaws in Facebook’s system (and Cambridge Analytica lied about what they were doing), which is why 311,000 Australians have had their data accessed by Cambridge Analytica, even though… we don’t vote in… US elections.

All in all, more than 87 million Facebook users (most of them in the US) had their data accessed.

The fact that the current US president used this data to help secure an election win is pretty scary, and a lot of people want the use of this information restricted and regulated to stop us from becoming a real life Black Mirror episode.

So How Will I Know If My Data Was Taken?

Regardless of whether Cambridge Analytica took your data, you’ll get one of these to messages from today:

If your data was accessed, you’ll get the message on the right. It’ll show you which third-party application was used to get your data, and it’ll give you an option to “see how you’re affected”.

No one really knows yet what this will involve. Facebook has explained that even if your data was not used by Cambridge Analytica, you’ll still have the chance to see what apps you’re sharing info with, and will be able to remove them.

“We’ll show people a link at the top of their News Feed so they can see what apps they use — and the information they have shared with those apps,” Facebook technology chief Mike Schroepfer said in a blog post. “People will also be able to remove apps that they no longer want.”