The Cambridge Analytica scandal that brought on most of the recent scrutiny that social giant Facebook has been suffering hit a disparate amount of Californians compared to most other states, according to a report published by the company. California saw nearly 7 million people’s information compromised and potentially mishandled. Texas had a number in the 5 million range, while New York and Florida fell in the 4 million range, and Pennsylvania got fifth place with over 2 million compromised. The state with the least potentially affected citizens was Wyoming, with just over 100,000 people’s information potentially mishandled.
It should be obvious that more populous states and more tech-savvy states that may have more users’ data out and about are going to be higher on the list. It’s also worth noting that Facebook does in fact collect some limited information on those who interact with its members, even if those people don’t have Facebook accounts of their own. Naturally, people who are actually on Facebook have a higher chance of being included in the number of potential data mishaps, and there’s more data for Facebook to handle, and thus a larger pool of personal information at potential risk in this scandal. California placing first is no surprise, given its large population and status as the nation’s tech hub. The states that placed under it, including Texas, New York, and Florida are also some of the most populous in the nation.
For those not in the know, the entire spectacle boils down to Facebook working with a data management contractor called Cambridge Analytica. The company was found to be improperly securing and possibly leaking user data, and when the scandal broke open, it put both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica under heavy scrutiny. While the larger company is facing down international courts, the smaller one ended up dissolving its US arm entirely. The event also started a firestorm in the area of data privacy, already a hot-button topic, and helped push along discussion and even legislation that either was drafted in response or had been in the works for a while, such as the EU’s recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation.