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Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

OTTAWA — The federal and B.C. privacy watchdogs say Facebook’s ineffective safeguards allowed unauthorized access to the information of millions of the social-media giant’s users — including data later used for political purposes.

The joint report of the two privacy commissioners finds major shortcomings in Facebook’s practices, highlighting a need for legislative reform to protect Canadians.

The complaint that prompted the probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal information, and that some of the data was then shared with others, including the firm Cambridge Analytica, which was involved in U.S. political campaigns.

The app, at one point known as “This is Your Digital Life,” encouraged users to complete a personality quiz.

It collected much more information about users who installed the app as well as data about their Facebook friends.

The report released today says about 300,000 Facebook users worldwide added the app, leading to the potential disclosure of the personal information of approximately 87 million others, including more than 600,000 Canadians.

The Canadian Press