May 23, 2018 / 8:42 PM / a month ago

Facebook suggests no compensation for European users affected by data breach

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Facebook is unlikely to compensate the 2.7 million European users whose data was improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica because sensitive bank account data had not been shared, the company said on Wednesday.

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaves after a meeting with French President at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The world’s largest social media network was responding to questions from EU lawmakers who had failed to get answers from Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg during a grilling a day earlier at the Brussels-based European Parliament.

“This was clearly a breach of trust. However, it’s important to remember that no bank account details, credit card information or national ID numbers were shared,” Facebook said in a statement.

“Most people gave the app at issue here access to information like their public profile as well their page likes, friend list and birthday. It was the same for friends whose settings allowed sharing.”

It said the app developer involved in the data breach had sold information on U.S. users, not EU users, to Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are already the targets of a class-action complaint filed by a Maryland resident seeking damages over the exploitation of U.S. users’ data without their permission.

In response to EU lawmakers’ concerns about the use of non-Facebook users’ data without their knowledge, the company said it was clear about the information it collects and it expects websites and apps to be equally transparent via their data or cookie policy.

It said non-Facebook users could ask what kind of data has been collected about them via its help center but the company does not create profiles of them.

The company also rejected suggestions that it separates users’ personal data between Facebook and WhatsApp, saying sharing data was necessary to help fight abusive content or spam on its services.

It was similarly dismissive of another EU lawmaker’s proposal to split off Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, citing the benefits a packaged service brings to consumers.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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