Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you might have got wind of the Facebook scandal that’s been circulating the news and the heated dialogues around social media and privacy of information. Since The Observer reported that over 50 million Americans have had their personal information used for a political agenda against their will, CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has broken his five-day silence and addressed the scandal.
So what exactly is this scandal?
Cambridge Analytica has worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the Brexit winning campaign in one of tech’s biggest ever data breaches, using millions of profiles to build a software program to predict and influence votes. They used personal information in 2014 to created targeted personal political advertisements, exploiting Facebook’s purpose for political gain.
How did this happen?
Facebook policies had previously allowed third party developers to harvest personal data from 2007 to 2014. Facebook then took measures to greatly reduce the amount of data available to these third parties in 2014, however Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan swooped in and managed to harvest 50 million profiles before for Cambridge Analytica before this was put in place. "This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook," Zuckerberg said.
What has Mark Zuckerberg said?
Speaking to a myriad of media outlets including CNN, The New York Times and Wired, Zuckerberg has apologized for what he has deemed a ‘breach of trust’, however he did not address why it took over three years to learn about the data breach.
"I am really sorry that this happened," he said in an interview with US cable channel CNN on Wednesday. "We have a basic responsibility to protect people's data, and if we can't do that, then we don't deserve the opportunity to serve people," he said.
What happens next?
Facebook will be changing the way it shares data with third party applications to protect personal information and stop data being used improperly. He expressed his cooperation with appearing before Congress after the US Federal Trade Commission have begun an investigation as to whether Facebook had violated their rules on privacy and consent and even agreed to Facebook being subject to more regulations.
What do you think of these breaches? Do you think that being part of a social media network and putting your information online is your own responsibility? Or do you think large corporations are taking advantage of this data for their own agenda?
Let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.