Nearly 50,000 Israelis may have had their information exposed to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which is accused of harvesting the personal data of some 87 million Facebook users, the social media company said Tuesday.
"After the most thorough and comprehensive review that was possible, these are our estimates regarding the number of people who installed the application and the number of people whose friends' information may have been exposed: Only 29 Israelis installed the application and a total of 47,014 may have been affected," Facebook said, referring to an application used by some Facebook users that made their friends' data accessible to Cambridge Analytica.
While most of those affected were from the United States, millions others were from other cuontries. According to U.K. daily The Guardian, only 10 users in New Zealand used the app, but data was collected from over 65,000 users in that country.
The Israeli Authority for Protection of Privacy announced last month it was launching an administrative probe into Facebook following reports that personal information was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, allegedly as part of efforts to support U.S. President Donald Trump's election campaign.
Secretly taped videos aired by the U.K.'s Channel 4 News showed executives from the company claiming that they used British and Israeli spies, honey traps and fake news campaigns to help their clients – among which was Trump's presidential campaign - and bring down their competitors.
The announcement by Facebook on Tuesday came shortly before CEO Mark Zuckerberg was scheduled to appear before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee to answer lawmakers' questions about the company's privacy fiasco.