WASHINGTON – The former Cambridge Analytica research director said the number of Facebook users whose data was breached “absolutely” could be more than 87 million.
Christopher Wylie, the pink-haired whistleblower, said the real number of user data that was misused by Cambridge Analytica “could be higher” than the 87 million that Facebook has fessed up to.
“I think that it could be higher, absolutely,” Wylie told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The personal profile information collected from the millions of Facebook users “could be stored in various parts of the world, including Russia,” Wylie added.
Facebook has been in damage control mode since it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a political firm hired by President Trump’s 2016 campaign, had gained access to a treasure trove of user data without their expressed permission.
Facebook has apologized for mishandling the data breach, and COO Sheryl Sandberg suggested users would have to pay to stop their profile data from being shared with advertisers.
“We don’t have an opt-out at the highest level. That would be a paid product,” Sandberg told NBC in an interview that aired last Friday.
Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will appear before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday in two-high profile hearings.
Lawmakers are expected to pepper him with questions about Facebook’s ability to protect users’ privacy and about the social media giant’s efforts to stamp out fake news and Russian advertising.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said he expects Zuckerberg to be forthcoming and frank.
“We can do it the easy way or the hard way,” Kennedy told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I do not want to regulate Facebook half to death but we do have two major problems we’ve discovered. One is the privacy issue and the other is the propagandist issue.”
Kennedy said his biggest worry is that even Zuckerberg “doesn’t know how to fix it.’
The White House is taking a wait-and-see approach on what to do with Facebook, said top economic aide Larry Kudlow.
“I think the president right now will be intently watching the congressional hearings,” Kudlow told “Fox News Sunday” when asked if Trump supports regulating Facebook. “I think he has his doubts whether Facebook has violated protocols, I don’t know.”
Kudlow offered a piece of advice to the boyish billionaire CEO – dress to impress.
“I wish Mr. Zuckerberg — I hope he comes to Congress wearing a nice business suit and shirt and tie, so he will be taken more seriously,” Kudlow said.
“I’m tired of that T-shirt, hoody stuff,” Kudlow continued. “He does run one of the largest corporations of the world, for heaven’s sakes.”