Recently, it has been revealed that a British data mining company, that has ties to the Trump campaign, gained access to data from over 50 million profiles on Facebook during the 2016 election.The company,Cambridge Analytica, at the time was run by Trump’s campaign manager Steve Bannon. He is know as being a member of the “alt-right” and the company apparently used this data to create personallytargeted political ads.
The firm has also been accused of writing fake articles, blackmailing and bribing officials around the world, and manufacturing scandals to help further their clients goals. The firm created a quiz app in 2014, but it also gained access to the data of the user and their friends. They used this information to personalize political ads to make them more effective in convincing people to vote for the GOP.
Facebook alleges that after they learned about Cambridge Analytica’s quizz, they immediately removed it and asked Cambridge Analytica to delete all the data they collected. However, many believe they should have taken more serious preventative measures to protect users data such as suspending Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook page. On top of Facebook data being collected, Instagram users were also targeted, because Facebook owns Instagram.
Since this scandal was revealed The Federal Trade Comission in the U.S. and the British Information Commissioner’s Office, have opened investigations into both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Also, many states have launched their own investigations into the situation. After this was announced Facebook’s stock fell 5 percent, which caused facebooks value to decrease by 50 billion dollars.
Mark Zuckerberg waited days before even mentionig the issue, and apologized almost a week later. Congress has asked that Mark Zuckerberg comes to testify in front of congress to talk about interference in the 2016 presidential election in general. This scandal has also caused many representatives and senators to call for more regulations for online advertising. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) has introduced the Honest Ads Act to regulate online political ads the same as radio, print, and T.V.
Although this scandal has hurt Facebook’s reputation, and some have threatened to boycott the company, it does not look like Facebook is going anywhere anytime soon.