Facebook Data Being Compromised 📡

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Data for politics

Facebook is eating 💩 right now thanks to Cambridge Analytica (CA), a political data analytics firm hired by the Trump campaign. The firm harvested 50 million FB user profiles without permission and used it to help their partisan clients both in the U.S. during the 2016 election and in the U.K. during the Brexit referendum.  

How did this happen?

A Cambridge University lecturer and researcher entered into an agreement with FB to obtain data for research purposes. He created an app that required users to log in using FB and agree to disclose their FB data. This isn't uncommon for a third-party app using FB login, however, the researcher eventually shared the data with CA - a big NO NO. 

What are people saying?

FB says this is in no way a data breach since users willingly shared data. However, some believe FB is still responsible for user data and should have better safeguards in place. Others are saying this is what FB was designed to do...so chill!


Not The End Of Times:

Bloomberg: Cambridge Analytica Behaved Appallingly. Don't Overreact.

The Ringer: Don’t Be Mad at Facebook for Being Facebook

 

The less concerned are basically saying 'Are you really that surprised?'. They remind us that this is NOT a data breach. Users provided their data knowingly to FB - a data collecting tech firm. These outlets acknowledge that FB needs to do more to protect data, but that we as consumers should not overreact because more data flow is good! They provide a positive example in Genes for Good, an application using FB data to combat diseases.

Big Data Violation:

Vox: Banks have to know their customers. Shouldn’t Facebook and Twitter?

Forbes: Facebook Needs To Understand The Difference Between Fault And Responsibility

 

Data privacy advocates believe that even though FB did nothing illegal, this is their responsibility. They blame FB for not having the proper safeguards in place to prevent this from happening. Some on the left are also advocating for additional regulatory oversight for the tech industry in general. Certain tech companies know more about you than banks, so why aren't they regulated as such?


Why does this even matter?

The ramifications here could be huge. On their homepage, CA says they use "data to change audience behavior." They could have been the tipping point that resulted in Trump's victory over Clinton or the data Brexit leaders needed to win their referendum. Data privacy has now entered the realm of political influence, and that's a big deal. [WATCH HERE for an undercover investigation into how CA is influencing global elections]

Hello, Cambridge Analytica

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