Facebooks Spiraling Faceplant

Data company Cambridge Analytica (CA) has been suspended by Facebook (FB) for improperly accessing data in 2014 via the app, thisisyourdigitallife.  Hundreds of thousands of users were paid to take a personality test in-app and agreed to have their data collected for academic use.  FB’s “platform policy” allowed only collection of friends’ data and barred it being sold on or used for advertising.
The policy didn’t work. The app also collected the information of the test-takers’ Facebook friends, leading to the accumulation of a data pool tens of millions-strong.
Urgent new questions are now being raised concerning FB’s role in the 2016 US Presidential election, CA’s role in the EU referendum and overall, where is the oversight concerning data ownership and privacy?

Our take

The days of Mark Zuckerberg’s mantra of “Move fast and break things” are over.  Innovation is one thing, but one needs to ask whether certain things should be broken. The pressure Facebook is feeling is palpable, and quite rightly so. With much data comes much responsibility. Events in past months, the ACCC’s inquiry as an example, reflects a ground swell, demanding transparency.  Trust is at an all time low and the fact that Facebook knew of this breach for almost 4 years and did little to rectify the issue doesn’t help the optics. The fact that Steve Bannon was VP of CA makes it look even more murky. This is a fast moving story.  To get up to speed, watch Channel 4’s undercover report here  

Ally Cooney

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