WASHINGTON — Facebook on Wednesday said the personal information of up to 87 million people, most of them Americans, may have been improperly shared during the 2016 election with Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm connected to President Trump.
The new figure sharply increased the company’s previous estimate of how many users’ information was harvested by Cambridge Analytica. For weeks, Facebook had said that the data of about 50 million users was at issue.
Facebook released the revised estimate of affected users as part of an extended statement about its plans for handling personal data. The company said it would start alerting users on April 9 about whether their information may have been shared with Cambridge Analytica.
The sharing of the user data has unleashed a torrent of criticism against Facebook, the world’s largest social network. Earlier on Wednesday, lawmakers in Washington had said Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, would testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11 about the company’s handling of sensitive user data.
He is also expected to appear before at least one Senate committee next week.
“This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues,” said Representatives Greg Walden, Republican of Oregon, and Frank Pallone, Democrat of New Jersey, of the House committee. “We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee.”
The hearing is sure to be a spectacle, drawing intense public interest because of Mr. Zuckerberg’s notoriety and because of the numerous issues facing the company. Few executives draw the same interest as Mr. Zuckerberg, the 33-year-old billionaire founder of Facebook, who has connected 2 billion people to the platform he created as a college student.