Facebook Battles to Retain Its Integrity Amidst Cambridge Data Scandal

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Remember that viral news about Mark making $4 billion barely 8 days into 2018? A shocking twist of event has seen Mark’s net worth plummet. As at the 21st of March, Facebook lost over $50 billion in market capitalization and the plunge has no end in sight. Why? Good question!

Mark Zuckerberg, at the beginning of the year, made a resolution to fix the problems on Facebook. Little did we know that the problems were real problems. As in, problems of national concern. The issue can be traced to the protracted scandal involving data-leaks and unauthorized access to data which allegedly influenced the U.S. Presidential elections in 2016.

What is Cambridge Analytica?

Any political party with the aim of creating effective campaigns to online users approach Cambridge Analytica for help. The company is adept at utilizing data gleaned from a plethora of sources to create profiles of voters. With the information, the company is able to predict the behavior of voters and they try to influence their voting decision.

Here’s the sad part, there are 270 million people of voting age in the US. Cambridge Analytica has 5000 data points on about 230 million voters. They obtained the data from Aleksandr Kogan, a researcher at the University of Cambridge; who created an app- thisisyourdigitallife — This app promised to serve as a personality prediction tool for users; a perfect cover for a much more sinister plan.

In essence, Facebook was duped by Cambridge Analytica. This company, based in the United Kingdom, leveraged information from Kogan and this data was used to build psycho-graphic profiles of the users. When Facebook realized this, they demanded that the company delete the data since it was obtained without informing the users, however, Cambridge Analytica claimed that they obtained the data legally and fairly.

Connection with Trump’s 2016 Campaign

As expected, Cambridge Analytica was hired by the firm to run data operations for Trump Campaign. Here’s where it gets interesting. Steve Bannon, then the Vice President of Cambridge Analytica’s board, eventually rose to attain the position of Chief Strategist in Trump’s administration. Coincidence? I think not.

Bad News for Facebook

Does this mean that organizations on Facebook can access your data and that of your friends? Well, kind of. Remember the terms and services no one ever reads? It’s spelled out there. When you try to use a third-party app, the app requests permission to use your name and email address, sometimes, this permission extends to your location and friends’ data.  Some say Facebook even tracks your calls and text messages. There is more to Facebook than meets the eyes. Whenever you use a service that is free, it invariably means you are the product. One of the reasons why Facebook is what it is today is the fact that Facebook was built on hacked profiles.

However, the problem with Cambridge Analytica and Kogan is that the data collated by developers shouldn’t be shared with other firms. The future appears gloom for Facebook as the government has stricter regulations in stock. In fact, Lawmakers in Washington demanded that Mark comes before the Congress to testify.

Another looming investigation is expected to stem from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Normally, Facebook should get the user’s consent before their data can be shared. More so, they (the users) should be notified about development involving their personal data. Facebook purportedly failed to do this.

Since this news broke out, notable figures like Cher, Brian of WhatsApp, Richard Perry, and Dan Clark all announced that they were calling it quits with Facebook. More so, the company’s market value is going down faster than Jack and Jill down the hill.

However, Mark has assumed full responsibility for the occurrence. He said recently on CNN ” I’m sorry that this happened”. Furthermore, he added that, the need for Facebook to protect the data of customers is paramount, he also recently announced that an investigation will be started, probing applications which had access to large streams of data. A full audit of the applications which evince shady characteristics will follow.

What Can You do?

As Facebook Battles to Retain Its Integrity, the best you can do is to effectively manage your privacy setting on Facebook and disallow other unwanted third-party apps from accessing your information. If you’re so upset, you can lodge a complaint against Mark or join a class action lawsuit or more aptly delete your Facebook account — I know this will be hard, especially if your business is dependent on Facebook marketing