The Facebook privacy scandal, referred to as the “Cambridge Analytica” scandal, has approached its one-year anniversary.
But, the conversation regarding Facebook executives’ vague descriptions of what exactly they do on the site to protect users’ private data has been years in the making, indicated by multiple lawsuits and surfaced criticism. The specific Cambridge Analytica incident refers to when investigative journalists revealed that the company had been accumulating the personal information of users from around 87 million Facebook profiles in the interest of political campaigning.
Cambridge Analytica has been tied to the Trump administration, and most specifically the 2016 election. Cambridge was hired by an “outside researcher,” later identified as a member of the Trump campaign, who Facebook executives report that they were told that this company was harvesting personal data for academic purposes. The company reported that they did not use this data to elect Trump.
Most recently, Facebook’s lawyers divulged to a federal judge that a consumer lawsuit over this incident is “baseless” because the breach was not harmful to anyone. But how could this possibly be logically measured, especially when some former Facebook users reported finding their information for sale on the dark web or have endured phishing scams after this occurrence?
Earlier this month, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to create “privacy-focused” updates on the social media giant. Though this is a great start, and Zuckerberg noted that this is a multi-year plan, t seems as if an issue so imminent as privacy would provoke immediate changes, big or small.
Because of the longevity of this issue of privacy, Facebook has a lot to focus on and improve before it can gain back the confidence of its one billion-plus users.