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The Facebook Data Scandal: A “Breach of Trust”

50M Users and Counting

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Facebook is not in a good spot as of late, which by now we all have heard the reasoning behind it. Though just in case you have not, we will summarize it for. Recently it has been revealed to the public via a whistleblower by the name of Chris Wylie (former employee of Cambridge Analytica) that Facebook had sold the data of over 50 million users to the political data mining and brokering company, Cambridge Analytica. This event, while Facebook has been caught with selling data before, is the first one that is revealed to the public on such a large scale. The Cambridge scandal has also brought light to how the social media giant sells/shares data to many other third parties aside from this, forcing Facebook to change the way it handles user privacy from now on – especially since the presence of government investigation from the FTC and Mark Zuckerberg are soon to be testimony to Congress.

Image from TechCrunch: Chris Wylie

The Cambridge Analytica had worked for Donald Trump’s campaign by collecting data to help in the campaign by using an app created by Global Science Research App called “thisisyourdigitallife.” The app had 270,000 volunteered users, but Facebook’s API permitted the collection of data from the friends of the app users. This is a violation of the consent decree that was entered by law by Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission, which can carry a $40, 000 fine per violation. Meaning that if the data scandal really affects 50 million users, this amount of money could reach into the trillions of dollars.

Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The scandal has even gotten the attention from notable individuals such as Apple CEO Tim Cook who said that Apple has never believed that “these detailed profiles of people” should exist, as they can be “abused against our democracy” and “be abused by advertisers.” Which is a similar stance that Steve Jobs took back in 2010 when Mark Zuckerberg was again in the heated privacy topic. If people want to share their data, then they should be asked for their consent, something that Facebook, now in 2018, has failed to do.

Image: CNBC

Facebook still has the chance to make things right to its users, and it seems that Mark Zuckerberg is willing to make those changes from his recent public responses. We will see in the coming days, months, and years if the social media company will stay true to its word given their track record of data sharing before. Though for now, it should be a waking call for all involved, the users whose data was stolen, and that of other social media networks to be careful of how it manages user privacy and only allow the sharing of data from users who give permission. This should also be a reminder that we should also be wary of how we decide to use social media as everything thing we do leaves a digital footprint that not only we can see, but the public as well.

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The Facebook Data Scandal: A “Breach of Trust”