The Cambridge Analytica, a data company based in the United Kingdom, has given Facebook its most difficult challenge to date. In the last few days, Cambridge Analytica has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. It is accused of obtaining information from more than 50 million Facebook users in the United States illegally. It then used this data to target the users with campaign content during the 2016 US Presidential Elections.
The concern is that Facebook probably knew about this but opted to do nothing about it.
Authorities summon Mark Zuckerberg
Since then, Facebook has been summoned by authorities in the UK to explain how this happened. Just this week, UK MPs summoned the company’s CEO and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to explain what transpired. The lawmakers are interested in establishing whether any link exists between Facebook and the political analysis firm. The political consultancy firm used an app known as “thisisyourdigitallife” to mine data from millions of Facebook profiles.
The downside for Facebook is the negative reaction this scandal has created.
For example, it is now losing many users. The reason the users are citing for abandoning Facebook is the ability of third parties to access their private and confidential information. For years, Facebook has been forced to respond to concerns regarding user privacy. Why wasn’t the company able to protect private information? Is Facebook as secure as the CEO and Founder as well as other personnel have made the world to believe?
A hashtag to this effect has since emerged. #DeleteFacebook has been trending this week.
It even led Elon Musk to respond to a Twitter user who requested him to delete the Facebook page of two of his companies – SpaceX and Tesla. One of WhatsApp’s co-founders – Brian Acton – also took to Twitter to ask his thousands of followers to delete Facebook. It is worth noting that Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for a whopping $19 billion. So far, the decision to #DeleteFacebook appears to have been an easy one to make for celebrities and billionaires.
Ordinary Users Offer Hope
However, the ordinary folk were a bit reluctant.
Consequently, the ordinary users appear to be offering Facebook some hope. For such people, Facebook remains one of the most effective and cheapest ways of getting in touch with loved ones, friends, and colleagues. The celebrities and billionaires who left continue citing the fact Facebook has too much of their personal details as the main reason for leaving. They wonder what Facebook is capable of doing with this info post-Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook will need to prove its complicity or lack thereof to earn users’ trust once again.