India's Much-loved Facebook Did Not Care About Personal Data of 5.6 Lakh Users Being Leaked! The noise related to data security is real and yes, it just hit India too!

By Vanita D'souza

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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It merely took one quiz app and 335 downloads to compromise data of more than 562,120 Indian Facebook users, which was sold to British data firm Cambridge Analytica.

Indian media reports quoted Facebook India spokesperson stating that the quiz app called "thisisyourdigitallife' was installed by 335 Facebook users living in India.

Cambridge Analytica is accused of data harvesting and using it to create newsfeeds to help Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

The news of a real data breach broke out when whistleblower Christopher Wylie, a former employee of data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, said the company mishandled the personal information of more than 50 million Facebook users.

Soon after, India's Ministry of Communications and IT issued a notice to Facebook seeking details of whether the personal data of Indian users have been compromised with entities, including with Cambridge Analytica.

The social media giant in its response to the Indian government's notice said that data of more than 5.6 lakh local users had been compromised. This accounts for nearly 0.6 per cent of the global number of potentially affected users.

The details of these Indian users are presently unknown. However, Facebook is expected to notify all the 5.6 lakh users about the data breach early coming week.

The Concern

As of January 2018, India is the largest market for Facebook with more than about 250 million active users followed by the United States, Brazil and Indonesia.

With Indian states like Karnataka, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan going for assembly election in the next one year and the Lok Sabha polls to follow, this data breach has raised eyebrows all over the country.

Even though founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook, in a press statement said, the giant will focus on enhancing security features for polls in India, Pakistan Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Hungary, his words weren't convincing enough to pacify the outburst.

Room for Homegrown Players

Amid cries of #DeleteFacebook and #BoycottFacebook that have picked up as trending on Twitter, Indian billionaire Anand Mahindra said he is keen to fund a homegrown social media company.

"Beginning to wonder if it's time to consider having our own social networking company that is very widely owned & professionally managed & willingly regulated. Any relevant Indian start-ups out there? If any young teams have such plans I'd like to see if I can assist with seed capital," Mahindra tweeted.

Though the veteran was bombarded with requests from budding Indian entrepreneurs along with Mahindra Group's Chief Digital Officer Jaspreet Bindra, only time will tell, if an Indian social media company will ever grow big enough to eat into Facebook's share.

Vanita D'souza

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

I am a Mumbai-based journalist and have worked with media companies like The Dollar Business Magazine, Business Standard, etc.While on the other side, I am an avid reader who is a travel freak and has accepted foodism as my religion.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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