Facebook says there may be more data leaks

More instances of misuse of user data may be found

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic//File Photo
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Facebook Inc. is on the hunt for other Cambridge Analytica-sized data leaks, and the company warned Thursday that users and investors might not like what it finds.

A few years ago, 270,000 people used a personality quiz app on the social network and shared information on their Facebook friends. That added up to as many as 87 million people. The data was later passed to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, without users’ consent. After public uproar, Facebook announced it would audit all popular apps from when its data rules were looser.

Facebook said it expects to discover and announce more “instances of misuse of user data or other undesirable activity by third parties,” according to a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The media may uncover foul play before Facebook does, the company also said. Either way, “the discovery of the foregoing may negatively affect user trust and engagement, harm our reputation and brands, and adversely affect our business and financial results,” the social-media giant said in the filing.

This could also expose Facebook to more regulatory risk, fines and penalties, beyond the scrutiny that’s already led Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to testify to Congress, it warned in the filing covering results from the first quarter of 2018.

All public companies list potential risks in regulatory filings, often repeating the same ones from quarter to quarter. Facebook updated its risk section as the company audits how outside developers use its social network and cuts off some access to data. The ongoing process is testing Facebook’s developer relationships.

The filing came a day after Facebook announced its earnings, passing expectations for sales and user growth, and showing that its advertising machine is so far unscathed. The shares soared.