Facebook data of over 300,000 Australians hit in data scandal

The country was hit the 10th hardest in the Cambridge Analytica scandal that has rocked Facebook over the past month.

Daniel Van Boom Senior Writer
Daniel Van Boom is an award-winning Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers cryptocurrency, NFTs, culture and global issues. When not writing, Daniel Van Boom practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reads as much as he can, and speaks about himself in the third person.
Expertise Cryptocurrency, Culture, International News
Daniel Van Boom
2 min read
James Martin/CNET

Aussies, you may have heard by now that the Facebook data of 87 million people was improperly shared with political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytics. But that's a problem for the Yanks right? Nope, our data was taken too.

Facebook on Thursday revealed the extent of the data sharing and said it estimates just over 300,000 Australians were implicated. That's around 1.2 percent of the country's population. 

From Facebook's graph, it appears Australia was the 10th hardest hit country. With 70.5 million compromised accounts, the US sits at the top. It makes sense, since the data was used to inform Facebook advertisements for the Trump campaign. You can see the full graph below.


The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg  called a "breach of trust," has raised questions about Facebook's handling of user data and whether the company is doing enough to protect it. Earlier Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee said Zuckerberg will testify before the Congressional panel on April 11 to answer questions about privacy and user data.

The news comes roughly two weeks after Facebook's initial ban of Cambridge Analytica for harvesting data through a third-party quiz app called "thisisyourdigitalife." The data was collected legitimately by a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan, who then reportedly violated Facebook's terms of service by passing the information on to Cambridge Analytica.

On Wednesday Cambridge Analytica disputed the new figure, saying it had acquired the data of 30 million people from Global Science Research, Kogan's research company.

Watch this: Millions more affected in Facebook data grab

'Alexa, be more human': Inside Amazon's effort to make its voice assistant smarter, chattier and more like you.

Rebooting the Reef: CNET dives deep into how tech can help save Australia's Great Barrier Reef.