Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. Its website was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.
Why do people often use Facebook?
There are many reasons why people use Facebook. People of all ages have access to Facebook through various convenient devices like smartphones and tablets. Children as young as a few months are introduced to the use of Facebook and by the age of 3, most children have been given access to their parents’ Facebook profiles by parents themselves. These reasons are also the facts that one understands why most active Facebook users have developed FAD (Facebook Addiction Disorder).
- Facebook provides so many interesting things on its site. One can make new friends, and stay connected with family members and friends, no matter where they live.
- One can promote their businesses and other activities through Facebook by creating specific pages for the same.
- There are many ways of connecting with other like-minded people and express views and opinions online through exchanging emails, messages, discussion forums, chatrooms, photos, videos, and other forms of communication through the site itself.
- Many can engage in games and communities of their interests.
- Knowledge, news stories and other political, social, cultural, academic and other such materials are passed on and shared.
- People across the world can connect with people from multitudes of nationalities and cultures.
Facebook - Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal
As it involves the collection of personally identifiable information of up to 87 million Facebook users that Cambridge Analytica began collecting in 2014, the data was used to influence voter opinion on behalf of politicians who hired them. The way Cambridge Analytica collected data, was considered “inappropriate”.
In December 2015, The Guardian reported that the United States Senator, Ted Cruz was part of this scandal and was said to have had used confidential data from Facebook. The owners of this data were unaware that companies were selling and politicians were buying their personal information.
Recently, in March 2018, The New York Times, The Guardian and Channel 4 News updated more detailed reports on the data scandal with new information. They all collected information from former Director of Research, Cambridge Analytica - Christopher Wylie, who provided information regarding communications among Facebook. Political representatives hired Cambridge Analytica to use the data to influence voter opinion. The scandal was significant for inciting public discussion on ethical standards for social media companies.
- Aleksandr Kogan, a data scientist at Cambridge University, developed an app called “thisisyourdigitallife”.
- He handed over the app to Cambridge Analytica.
- Afterward, Cambridge Analytica, in turn, arranged an informed consent process for research in which several thousands of Facebook users would agree to complete a survey.
- However, the Facebook design allowed this app to not only collect the personal information of people but also the personal information of their Facebook social network.
- Cambridge Analytica acquired data from millions of Facebook users, through this process.
- The New York Times reported that the data set included information of over 50 million Facebook users.
- According to Facebook, up to 87 million users had their data shared, with 70.6 million of those from the United States of America itself.
- The New York Times and The Guardian reported that as of March 17, 2018, the data was openly available on the internet and was in general circulation.
The response of CEO of Facebook
- Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the situation with Cambridge Analytica, calling it “an issue, a mistake and a breach of data”.
- Other Facebook officials argued against calling it a “Data Breach”.
- Zuckerberg pledged to make changes and reforms in the Facebook policy to prevent similar breaches in the future.
- On March 25, 2018, Zuckerberg published a personal letter in various paper newspapers apologizing on behalf of Facebook.
- Amazon also said that they suspended Cambridge Analytica from using their Amazon Web Services when they came to know that their service was collecting personal information.
- The Governments of India and Brazil demanded that Cambridge Analytica report how anyone used data from the breach in political complaining.
- Mark Zuckerberg admits it as his personal mistake that he didn’t do enough to prevent Facebook from being used for harm, during his testimony before the congress on April 10th, 2018.
- With the rapid growth of technology and a vast amount of users on Facebook, there is a need to increase security and safety measures.
- They have taken action to ensure more protection, there will be 5,000 employees added to the security and content review team.
- The team has been directed to put in all their efforts into creating a safer space for the community.
“At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.” - Jodi Rell