What you need to know about Facebook’s latest data scandal


Facebook has been feeling the heat lately due to their latest data scandal that has affected millions of people. This scandal has caused major uproar from Facebook users as well as stress on the Facebook team to try to rectify the problem at hand. Here are the facts on what happened, how Facebook is dealing with the situation, and how you can protect yourself in the future.

What is the scandal about? Just days ago CEO and founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has finally broke his silence regarding the Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal. This topic has a long timeline and many parts, but here’s what you need to know. According to The Atlantic, a man named Aleksandr Kogan and his company, Global Science Research, created an app called “thisisyourdigitallife” in 2014. Users were paid to take psychological tests and the app collected the data. The app also gathered data of the person’s Facebook friends, according to the reports. This data was then sold to Cambridge Analytica. Why does it matter? You put all this personal information out on the internet already, so what does it matter whose hands it is in? The reason why this is so controversial is because the data that was collected was then sold and was used to develop “psychographic” profiles of people and deliver pro-Trump material to them online during the 2016 election. Senior executives were also presumed to practice psychological manipulation, entrapment techniques and fake news campaigns, although Cambridge Analytica denies this. via GIPHY

Facebook is completely aware of the issue at hand, and is trying to reassure the public they are doing everything in their power to help the situation, although the damage is already done.

This statement published by Facebook declares that the data was obtained by Cambridge Analytica legitimately, but has claimed that Kogan “lied” to the social media platform and violated its policies in transferring the data. Consequently in 2015, Facebook immediately banned Kogan’s app from Facebook, and demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data, which they later provided these certifications.

However, it turns out that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. Facebook has subjected Cambridge Analytica to a forensic audit and is also working with regulators as they investigate what happened.

According to a Facebook post by Mark Zuckerberg himself, these are the steps they are also taking to protect its users.

  1. Facebook will investigate any app that had access to large amounts of information before they changed their data policy in 2014 and ban them if they will not comply with the audit.

  2. Facebook will restrict developers’ data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse.

  3. Facebook will make sure their users understand which apps they have allowed data access to with new privacy tools located in settings and the top of user’s newsfeeds.

Along with this, Zuckerberg has also agreed to testify before congress but no date has been set yet.

What happens next?
Many Facebook users are following the movement #DeleteFacebook. Sure, you can delete your account but your data will most likely always be there. This artilce in the  New York Times explains that when you delete your account, you are only deleting the media you posted, like your status updates and photos that you uploaded. Anything that your friends have ever posted about you will still remain on the application. All of your friends (and their friends, too) would also have to delete their accounts in order for all your information to be deleted. Also, don’t forget that Facebook owns Instagram and Whatsapp, so you all will have to delete that too!

Another drawback to deleting Facebook is that it is a main way to communicate and keep in touch with pretty much everyone. Not only that but many third party applications and websites use your Facebook login to create a new account so you don’t have to remember 400 different passwords and usernames.

So if you don’t want to delete your account to be able to keep up with Aunt Sarah across the country, or your BFF doing study abroad right now, here’s what you can do.

Facebook is going to make it as easy as possible for users to see what data is being used on their personal Facebook accounts. They are doing this by creating a centralized system for its users to control their privacy and security settings, so they don’t have to go to around 20 different subpages to change their privacy settings. On this centralized page users can also download a file of all the data Facebook has collected about them over the years.

At the end of the day, you choose what you put on sites like Facebook but it is also the company’s job to protect their users and ensure they are not being manipulated. Mark Zuckerberg appears to be “sorry” regarding the situation, but we can’t wait to see what happens when he testifies in front of Congress.

Stay tuned for our next article with tips to protect your privacy!