Facebook said on Friday that it had suspended Canadian political consultancy AggregateIQ from its platform after reports that the data firm may have improperly had access to the personal data of Facebook users.
According to a report by TechCrunch, Facebook secretly retracted (deleted) the messages sent by Mark Zuckerberg as well as other top executives of Facebook from the recipients' inboxes. "These included limiting the retention period for Mark's messages in Messenger".
Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer has showed country-specific break-up of people affected by the data breach, saying information of up to 87 million people, mostly in the USA, may have been "improperly" shared with Cambridge Analytica via a quiz app, "thisisyourdigitallife", between November 2013 and December 2015.
The company also said that it won't unsend or retract any more of Zuckerberg's messages, until the feature is made available to the larger audience.
For a normal Facebook user, there is no way that they have the power to delete messages from other people's inbox, although the CEO and other executives did have the ability to use this function for a few years. "This may take some time", he said.
Still reeling from the Cambridge Analytica debacle and other privacy scandals, Facebook has now announced that the feature will in fact be rolling out to everyone - although not necessarily any time soon.
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The company was responding to an earlier letter that Jourova sent to the social media platform on 23 March, in which she demanded explanations about its knowledge of Cambridge Analytica's alleged harvesting of up to 87 million Facebook users' profiles for its work on political campaigns. Imagine you want to report harassment, only to find out the culprit deleted their messages and you no longer have any proof.
Currently, users can only delete messages from their own inboxes which will still show up in the recipient's thread.
Facebook's terms of service don't give the right to remove content from users' accounts unless it violates the company's community standards. Further, the spokesperson said that they should have done this sooner and they are sorry that they did not.
What do you think about the upcoming "unsend" feature?
"We know that we did not do enough to protect people's data", Sandberg told National Public Radio.