It was recently announced that a political data-analytics firm based in the U.K., Cambridge Analytica, breached into the accounts of 50 million Facebook users during the 2016 presidential campaign without their awareness or consent. Experts analyzing the issue believe that the breach was conducted to influence voter opinion during the presidential campaign. Many people have questioned the data breach further, saying Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg should testify due to the sensitive nature of the problem.
Since questioning by reporters and others, the Facebook data breach has affected the company. There have been lawsuits, government inquiries and a drop in share price. “This was a breach of trust and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. I promise to do better for you.” Zuckerberg said in an apology after a campaign to delete Facebook began gaining momentum.
Although Zuckerberg issued an apology, Facebook did not address the matter when it occurred, nor did it promise users that such a problem would be corrected. If Facebook was prompt in addressing the matter, Zuckerberg’s apology would have been more convincing and users would have felt more secure about continuing to use the platform.
Since the knowledge of the breach became widespread, Zuckerberg has offered multiple solutions. He said developers will not receive as much information about a user anymore, and will be limited to the user’s name, profile photo and email address after the user signs into Facebook. Developers would have to request more detailed information from Facebook about users’ posts.
Questions remain as to whether our security is at stake. The hashtag that is now trending, #deletefacebook, seems to be gaining momentum. Will people using Facebook begin to delete it? After hearing the Facebook breach was used influence the election, can we trust Facebook at all to store our personal data? After all, if Facebook was able to use the data of millions of people in a presidential campaign, then we know that our data may be at risk, and can be used by any company or firm for any reason. In addition to this risk, it has been found that the younger generation has turned to other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, bringing the popularity of Facebook down altogether.
The fact that Facebook allowed this to happen in the first place is appalling. As the co-founder of Facebook, Zuckerberg should have ensured that users’ data is not illegally used for other purposes, nor sold for political means. A solution to the problem should have been implemented as soon as it occurred, such as secure privacy measures. For example, users would have to agree whether they want their personal information released in greater context.
In order for Facebook to be trusted, it must undergo a thorough investigation to ensure that there are no other data breaches. I am sure Facebook users are concerned about the site’s security. We still wonder whether Facebook is hiding more information behind the scenes, as they responded to this issue very late.
After the security breach, many users chose to delete their accounts. It appears users are worried about how their info is used, and Facebook does not appear to be trustworthy. As this problem continues to be investigated, the lack of consistent monitoring appears to be a problem with Facebook. In order to remain popular, Facebook must change their monitoring techniques and continually keep track of their platform to ensure that such issues do not happen again.
Anusha Kumar is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.