Home TECH NEWS Understand the Facebook Data Leak Scandal in 10 Points

Understand the Facebook Data Leak Scandal in 10 Points

This breach of data has led to a loss of $50 billion in the market value of this silicon valley based company. Mark Zuckerberg described the whole incident as a breach of trust on behalf of the company and also said that “people who share their data with facebook, expect us to protect it, we need to fix that”

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Facebook Data Leak Scandal
The most popular social networking site, Facebook, is facing criticism all over the world for allowing access to private data of it’s more than 50 million users to Cambridge Analytica, a British data analysis company. Mark Zuckerberg admitted not taking right steps at the right time and said they need to ensure this doesn’t reoccur. This news surfaced all over the internet and news channels on Wednesday, causing a fall of 3% shares of Facebook Inc. What was the reason of this data leak? How Cambridge Analytica got access to data? Whether the social networking site allowed unauthorized access to data or was it the data analysis firm that cheated on Facebook? We are here to answer these and many more such questions in the following ten points.

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1. When was the data leak discovered?

This was first discovered in December 2015, when Cambridge Analytica was reportedly helping Ted Cruz, a republican candidate in his UD Presidential campaign. The data analysis firm used tools to pool in voters through accessing user’s data and sending right messages to them. Questions were raised on how Cambridge Analytica was collecting this data.




2. How Cambridge Analytica accessed the data?

They used a personality quiz named, ‘This is your digital life’, created by Alexander Kogan, a Cambridge University researcher. This quiz was taken by 3,00,000 users, app immorally accessed data of those who took the quiz and their friends, thereby accessing data of over 5 million users. Kogan went against Facebook’s rules and shared this data with Cambridge Analytica.

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3. What Mark Zuckerberg had to say on this?

CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg posted an apology to all the users of Facebook and assured all that proper steps are being taken to prevent such a thing from happening again. He posted, “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you, I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago,”

 

4. What will be done by Facebook for data protection?

Zuckerberg said that the data leak can’t happen after 2014 i.e. when they made changes in their policies. This app had access to data before 2014, so they will investigate all such apps that had access to large amounts of data before 2014. Auditing of any app with suspicious activity will be conducted and if anything is found objectionable then concerned developers will be banned from Facebook. If there is any such app which has not been used by anyone for 3 months then Facebook will remove developers’ access to user data. Giving users all the information about which apps the user has used and how are they accessing user’s data, Facebook will provide a tool at the top of news feed for the same.




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5. Indian government’s reaction

Indian government has warned Facebook that any attempts to interfere in the country’s elections won’t be tolerated. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Information and Technology said, “If need be, strong action will be taken. Let me make it very, very clear, we fully support freedom of press, speech and expression; we fully support free exchange of ideas on social media. But any attempt, covert or overt, by social media, including Facebook, of trying to influence India’s electoral process through undesirable means will neither be appreciated nor be tolerated.”

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6. Cambridge Analytica and India

While the mainstream political parties of India are accusing each other for using the services of Cambridge Analytica to influence elections, Cambridge Analytica’s website mentions a 2010 case study for Bihar elections, where it’s client JD-U won 90% of seats targeted by the firm. Though, Cambridge Analytica was officially formed in 2013, it’s parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) in partnership with Ovleno Business Intelligence (OBI) worked in India. According to the website, their clients were BJP, Congress and Janta Dal.

 

7. What is the scenario in other countries?

Cambridge Analytica exploited Facebook to mine data from millions of user profiles, they used sophisticated data tools to swing voters. Apart from accusations on the firm to plan campaigns for 2016 US elections and Brexit referendum, Cambridge Analytica likely influenced elections in other countries as well, including Kenya, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.

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8. UK Parliamentary committee wants Mark Zuckerberg to testify

Damian Collins, chairman of UK Parliamentary media committee has asked Facebook CEO to testify. He said, “It is now time to hear from senior FB executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process. Given your commitment at the start of the New Year to ‘fixing’ Facebook, I hope that this representative will be you.”




9. In the United States, Mark Zuckerberg was asked to testify

Democrats in the Senate also called on Zuckerberg to testify, “Facebook breach: This is a major breach that must be investigated. It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves. I’ve called for more transparency and accountability for online political ads. They say ‘trust us’. Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary.”

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10. Suspension of Cambridge Analytica and SCL from Facebook

As a response to all the questions regarding immediate steps taken by the social networking site, on 16th March, Facebook announced that they have suspended Cambridge Analytica, SCL, Wylie and Kogan from it’s platform.

 

This breach of data has led to a loss of $50 billion in the market value of this silicon valley based company. Mark Zuckerberg described the whole incident as a breach of trust on behalf of the company and also said that “people who share their data with facebook, expect us to protect it, we need to fix that”




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