Facebook says up to 2.7 million EU users affected by leak

BRUSSELS — The European Union said Friday that Facebook has told it that up to 2.7 million people in the 28-nation bloc may have been victim of improper data sharing involving political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica.

EU spokesman Christian Wigand said EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova will have a telephone call with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg early next week to address the massive data leaks.

The EU and Facebook will be looking at what changes the social media giant needs to make to better protect users and how the U.S. company must adapt to new EU data protection rules.

Wigand said that EU data protection authorities will discuss over the coming days "a strong coordinated approach" on how to deal with the Facebook investigation.

Separately, Italy's competition authority opened an investigation Friday into Facebook for allegedly misleading practices following revelations that the social network sold users' data without consent.

Authority chairman Giovanni Pitruzzella told Sky News24 that the investigation will focus on Facebook's claims on its home page that the service is free, without revealing that it makes money off users' data.

The investigation comes as Italian consumer advocate group Codacons prepares a U.S. class action against Facebook on behalf of Italians whose data was mined by Cambridge Analytica. Codacons said just 57 Italians downloaded the Cambridge Analytica app, but that an estimated 214,000 Italians could be affected because the data mined extended to also the users' friends.

A top Facebook privacy official is scheduled to meet with the authority later this month.

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This story was earlier corrected to show that the EU call will take place with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg not with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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