Australia’s privacy regulator sues Facebook; says data of users have been breached

Australia’s privacy regulator sues Facebook; says data of users have been breached

- Australian Information Commission has sued Facebook for sharing personal details of over 300,000 users without their knowledge and permission

- The personal details were allegedly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultant

- The suit could lead to the payment of damages to the tune of $349,362,180,000 if the court awards the maximum compensation

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Social media company, Facebook Inc, has been sued by Australia’s privacy regulator for possible breach of data of users.

According to the regulator, Facebook shared personal details of users with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultant, without their knowledge and permission.

The Australian Information Commission went on to say that Facebook breached privacy laws by revealing details of 311,127 users.

READ ALSO: Fresh reports show African startups could have raised about $2 billion in 2019

The commissioner, Angelene Falk, explained that Facebook possesses a platform that is designed to prevent users from determining how their personal information was shared.

The suit is seeking unspecified damages and each breach of privacy law could result in a maximum penalty of $1.1 million.

The fine would, therefore, amount to $349,362,180,000 if the court awards the maximum compensation for each of the 311,127 cases.

Facebook’s representatives were not immediately available for comment, Reuters.com reports.

In other news, Africa’s most popular social media platform, WhatsApp, has other versions which are more popular with users in the continent, a new report has revealed.

In Zimbabwe, WhatsApp accounted for about half of the internet data in the country in the year 2017. However, its popularity has been under-reported as third parties have introduced modified versions, leading to changes in usage among African mobile internet users.

Known as “WhatsApp mods”, they are shared from one device to another or downloaded from sources outside official portals.

This, according to qz.com, implies that they do not show up on the download lists of major app stores. Bryan Pon, co-founder of Caribou Data, reveals that people are attracted to them because the apps offer several packages compared to WhatsApp.

GB WhatsApp, which is the most widely used mod across important African markets, gives users the opportunity to operate multiple accounts, restore deleted messages and send and receive larger media files, up to 50 megabytes.

It also offers users more control of privacy settings, including hiding features that notify others when users are online, recording a voice-note or typing a message.

Aside these reasons, users of modified apps can still seamlessly communicate with contacts using official WhatsApp versions.

Caribou Data analysed 230 unique app sessions in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa shows that GB WhatsApp was the second most used social messaging app only behind WhatsApp’s official version.

READ ALSO: Nigeria grows past South Africa to become Africa's biggest economy

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Source: Yen

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