Even Mark Zuckerberg's personal data was obtained by Cambridge Analytica

The House panel's top Democrat, Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, called Wednesday for "comprehensive legislation to prevent incidents like this in the future".

The question hit on an issue that loomed over the hearings this week: Do internet users really know everything that Facebook knows about them? Facebook shares jumped as Zuckerberg spoke to the senators, closing up 4.5 per cent in NY trading.

But he maintained that advertising enables Facebook to offer a free service and that targeted ads based on user categories were more acceptable to users, even if they could opt out.

Cambridge Analytica insists it deleted the harvested data as soon as it was informed it breached Facebook's terms of use.

At Wednesday's hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Facebook CEO confirmed the company collects information on nonusers.

Regardless of whether or not Cambridge Analytica did actually access our private messages, the fact that Facebook is only now letting users know that their intimate conversations may have been read by a data firm they unwittingly gave access to their inboxes will make the recovery even more hard for the company.

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That data comes from a range of sources, said Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

But if you too are an occasional user who has not downloaded the app, or maybe you're just a few coding courses short of tech-savvy status, you may not have seen or been able to access the notification.

"You've said everyone controls their data, but you're collecting data on people that are not even Facebook users who have never signed a consent, a privacy agreement", Lujan said.

"We are also awaiting the result of the processes now being undertaken by UK's Information Commissioner's Office, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the US Federal Trade Commission and the Australian Privacy and Information Commissioner", Edwards said. But now more people are talking about how Facebook tracks people who are not logged into Facebook, or even those who have no Facebook accounts, across the web to create their "shadow profoles".

- Use the incognito mode or private mode in your browser as much as you can.

- Do not click on the like button anytime you see it on a random page.

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There is no doubt that the current figures are hugely impacted by all the recent news regarding Facebook and the CA scandal.

Matt Hancock has warned Facebook it is "not above the law" and could face stricter regulation, following a meeting with representatives of the social media giant.

The objective of that data collection was to help Facebook get better at recommending friends for you, the company said.

The data harvesting scandal took a new turn after the company's chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, published a blogpost detailing what changes Facebook was making to better protect user information.

Each had the opportunity to question Zuckerberg during his testimony before the committee.

"This information was generally information that people share publicly on their profile pages, like their name and profile picture and the list of pages that they follow". Greg Walden (R-OR) was concerned there are "critical, unanswered questions surrounding Facebook's business model and the entire digital ecosystem regarding online privacy and consumer protection".

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"There are two things Congress is good at", said Rep. Billy Long of Missouri.

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