IT

Are We Finally Doing Something About Facebook?

Cambridge Analytica scandal brings focus onto data privacy issues.

For all of his squeaky clean, boy next door, All-American good looks and charm, Mark Zuckerberg is quickly becoming the man that the public loves to hate, all thanks to piles of allegations that Facebook aided outside operatives who were working to influence the US Presidential election. Initially, it was reports of Russian firms purchasing anti-Clinton and anti-Democrat ads, and openly paying in rubles. Now, a whole new issue has arisen, and this time it’s attracting the attention of lawmakers.

Data firm Cambridge Analytica has had its Facebook access suspended after reportedly “gathering” the personal profile data of more than 50 million Facebook users, then targeting those people with what amounts to fake news. In order to scoop up members’ information, they utilized things like games, online quizzes, and other third-party apps. However, only after being informed of the investigation, Facebook determined that Cambridge Analytica violated the terms of use for the information in question.

Cambridge Analytica scandal has forced Facebook to address data privacy issues.

Cambridge Analytica scandal has forced Facebook to address data privacy issues.

Stock price hit

In light of the investigation, Facebook’s stock value took a direct hit, plummeting by 7 percent, according to some reports. That’s the single largest decrease for the company’s stock price in a single day in five years.

Splitting hairs

How is Zuckerberg and Friends fighting back? Rather than take ownership of the role the company has apparently played in producing a foreign-influenced puppet government, Facebook is instead fighting against the use of the term “data breach” to describe how the company was allowed to snatch up that much user data and use it maliciously. For what it’s worth, Facebook is probably right: in a genuine data breach, the owner of the information didn’t willingly hand it over to the outside operatives to use however they see fit. For most stakeholders in this issue, they’d probably prefer hearing that Facebook was hacked rather than complicit in sharing the data.

Rethink

Should investigators actually take action against the company for sharing member profiles and allowing third-parties to interfere through targeted campaigns, Facebook might want to rethink its disdain for the term “data breach”.

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