Facebook is in the news over privacy concerns one more time. This time, the social media giant has got itself into a mess. Cambridge Analytica serves as the data operations team for Donald Trump in 2016 election. The upstart is accused of harvesting more than 50 million user profiles on Facebook without any consent from the users. It is a data breach like no other.
However, Facebook feels differently. They mentioned that the claim that it is a data breach is totally false. Aleksandr Kogan gained access to information from the users who chose to sign up on his app and everyone involved in the process had given their consent. Facebook further added that people knowingly provided information and no systems were infiltrated. No passwords or sensitive information was stolen or hacked. So according to Facebook, there was no data breach at all.
Only it is not that simple, which is why Cambridge Analytica has been suspended from Facebook. Cambridge Analytica was once on-board house Trump and allegedly paid Kogan to obtain personal information of users on Facebook. Kogan had access to this data through his academic app which was apparently downloaded by 2, 70,000 people. The users downloaded the app and signed in with their Facebook user ID. The app also copied the data and details of friends of all the people who downloaded the app. Kogan had data of about 50 million Facebook users and he then sold it to Cambridge Analytica. According to Facebook, information like the city, content liked by the users, and more information about friends who had their privacy settings set to allow it were shared. This information was used around influencing voters towards the Trump camp. Facebook learnt about this in 2016 and removed his app from Facebook. It demanded certification from Kogan and all parties that all the information had been destroyed. However, it has now come to light that not all data was deleted.
Facebook is in deep trouble but it is not going away. The company is losing money and reputation while many other platforms are echoing #DeleteFacebook. Deleting Facebook may sound like a definite solution, but it is not the best solution for many. The biggest lesson for users here is to stop playing quizzes and games on social media which could rob you of your privacy in the background. Do not share your personal details online and keep the privacy settings in check. This instance shows that Facebook does play fast and loose with the user information. Users need to stay away from silly applications and games in order to maintain the secrecy and privacy of their information.