BRITS impacted by the Facebook data scandal could be owed £12,500 ($23,00AUD) each in compensation, claim lawyers.

More than 300,000 Australians also had their data harvested in the shocking data breach. 

Around a million people in the UK are thought to have been affected by the breach, which saw a firm called Cambridge Analytica obtain the info of 87 million Facebook users without their permission.

The social network is already staring down a possible trillion-dollar fine in the US as part of a Federal Trade Commission probe, and it could be left with a massive bill on this side of the pond too.

Dispute resolution lawyer Jonathan Compton told the Mail Online that those affected could complain to UK's data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), or make a claim through civil courts on the grounds that losing their data had been "distressing".

'The start point for any award might be between £10,000 and £12,500," Compton, a partner at DMH Stallard, said.

"This will vary of course if the personal information is comparatively trivial or very serious and damaging."

The ICO has revealed that Facebook is one of 30 companies it is investigating over the use of personal data for meddling in political campaigns.

Cambridge Analytica boasted that it used the info snatched from Facebook users to help President Trump get into office and to sway the Brexit result.

Yesterday, Facebook started posting a notification to the News Feeds of the 87 million global users whose data may have been swiped by the shady firm - out of which 1.1 million are thought be from the UK.

One of three messages users are due to receive, according to a company blog post. Picture: Facebook.
One of three messages users are due to receive, according to a company blog post. Picture: Facebook.

Later today, the social network's founder Mark Zuckerberg will issue another apology as part of his testimony in front of Congress.

He will tell US lawmakers:  "I'm sorry … I'm responsible", admitting the site "didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm".

THE WORD FACEBOOK WON'T SAY

THEY say "sorry" seems to be the hardest word - and that seems particularly true for Facebook as the social media giant begins to notify 87 million people affected by the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

On Monday, the company began issuing a "protecting your information" message to users following the scandal that knocked $2 billion off the share price and will see CEO Mark Zuckerberg face a grilling from US politicians.

While Zuckerberg has apologised personally, saying "I am sorry" for not taking a "broad enough view of our responsibility," the official message has seemingly failed to echo the sentiment.

In three different versions of the notification sent to users shared on a blog post by Chief Technology Officer, Mike Schroepfer, all fail to directly apologise.

The messages differ depending on how a user was affected, with the most basic version showing how to check what sites and apps they have used a Facebook profile to log in with.

Those affected directly will get a note saying: "We have banned the app 'This is your Digital Life', which you used Facebook to log into, because it may have misused some of our Facebook information by sharing it with a company called Cambridge Analytica."

If affected via a friend, the message will read: "We have banned the app 'This is your Digital Life', which one of your friends used Facebook to log into. We did this because the app may have misused some of your Facebook information by sharing it with a company called Cambridge Analytica. In most cases, the information was limited to public profile, page likes, birthday and current city."

The latter two messages contain a link to "get more information". Facebook estimates 87 million people could have been affected by an app downloaded by less than 300,000 people due to it "scraping" information under a since banned "friends permission" feature.

The messages began to roll out at 2am Tuesday AEST and will appear in newsfeeds over the coming days.

It comes as CEO Mark Zuckerberg will face politicians over two days in a critical moment for the company he created facing questions over fake news, hate speech, privacy breaches and Russian election interference.

Prepared testimony released on Monday showed Zuckerberg owning up, by saying: "We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake."

The jury is out on how the changes will affect Facebook’s overall membership and bottom line. Picture: AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS ASFOURI
The jury is out on how the changes will affect Facebook’s overall membership and bottom line. Picture: AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS ASFOURI

"It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here."

"We will continue working with the government to understand the full extent of Russian interference, and we will do our part not only to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, but also to give everyone a voice and to be a force for good in democracy everywhere," Zuckerberg continued.

The company has recently made a series of changes to make privacy settings easier to access and understand for users. However analysts question whether Facebook is fundamentally changing or simply "tinkering around the edges of a deeper problem", AP reports.

"Why is connectivity a good thing? Once you begin to challenge that, you begin to question the business model, which is about mining our data," Columbia University professor Richard John asked.

GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives said as many as 15 per cent of people could leave the site leading to a US$2 billion cut to the bottom line.

University of Tennessee legal professor Maurice Stucke said the "billion dollar question" is whether Facebook can survive with greater privacy protections which could undermine its ability to reap data from users to sell to advertisers.

Facebook has been contacted for comment.



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