Facebook has recorded mass deletions since admitting that Cambridge Analytica harvested private information from over 50 million users without their knowledge or consent.
Cambridge Analytica LLC (CA) is a Delaware registered limited liability company, with offices in New York City, Washington, D.C. and London. The company combines data mining, data brokerage, and data analysis with strategic communication for the electoral process. It was created in 2013 as an offshoot of its British parent company SCL Group to participate in American politics, and in 2014, CA was involved in 44 U.S. political races.
Cambridge Analytica reportedly built a powerful software program which profiled voters during America’s 2016 Presidential elections, and targeted them with personalized political ads. It was unknown, to Facebook users, that the data-harvesting firm worked in partnership with President Donald Trump’s election team as well as the winning Brexit campaign handlers.
A report from The Guardian on Monday alleged that Facebook knew about the security breach for two years but did nothing to protect its users.
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO) said in a statement that his company has broken ties with their former contractor for Cambridge Analytica but withheld an apology during a CNN interview despite admitting to mistakes.
In his first time of breaking the silence since this ongoing FB’s user-privacy crisis which was announced last Friday, Zuckerberg outlined how the company plans to restore trust with users.
“I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” the 33-year-old wrote in a blog post Wednesday, adding that the good news is: the most important actions to prevent this from happening again was taken years ago.
More than 40,000 people have mentioned the hashtag #DeleteFacebook on Twitter since Tuesday.
Zuckerberg said FB made mistakes, but assured the social media giant will review its policies to forestall future occurrences. “There’s more to do,” he wrote, “and we need to step up and do it.”
While those words from Zuckerberg are intended to douse the tension, an inquiry from the Federal Trade Commission and FBI special counsel Robert Mueller has been set up to probe ties between the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica and the Republican National Committee.
Here’s a list of counteractive measures Facebook said it will employ:
- First, it will investigate all apps that had access to “large amounts of information” before Facebook changed its platform to reduce data access in 2014.
- Second, Facebook will restrict developers’ data access “even further to prevent other kinds of abuse.” For example, it will remove developers’ access to user data if you haven’t used their app in three months.
- Third, it will display a tool at the top of the News Feed with apps users have used and an easy way to revoke those apps’ permissions to your data.
The Facebook CEO also said he will testify before the U.S. Congress if handed an invitation, but many users are already disenchanted with the social media powerhouse.
“I suspected this stuff was going on, but this is the first time it’s been plainly exposed,” filmmaker Richard Perry told the Times. “It seems so malicious, and Facebook seems so complicit all the way up and down, like it doesn’t care about its users.”
Dan Clark, a retired Navy veteran, said in his statement: “Facebook was the main platform I used to keep in touch with all of them, and it was a difficult decision to give it up…But you have to stand for something, so I just put my foot down and said enough is enough.”
Facebook argued that the researcher that supplied the data to Cambridge Analytica in 2013 lied to Facebook and thereby violated its policies. FB cut ties with CA and barred it, together with its parent company, from using its platform.
In an official statement, Facebook said it no longer allows third-party apps to capture data the way Cambridge Analytica did.
“This was a breach of trust between [researcher Aleksandr] Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook,” Zuckerberg wrote, “but it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it…We need to fix that.”
At this point, it’s unknown whether the uproar over the actions taken by Cambridge Analytica will lead to mass exodus from Facebook, and if there will be new regulations to protect users or punishment for defaulters.
FB users are deleting their accounts, creating new ones or totally boycotting the social platform. It’s an individual decision to be taken after weathering the storm.