5 Things You Should Know About Facebook and Cambridge Analytica
Many Facebook users are wondering whether they fell victim to hacking and data theft by Cambridge Analytics. Facebook still hasn’t contacted the 87 million users that fell victim to the data breach. However, the social media giant says it will contact users soon. If you don’t understand the Cambridge Analytica data breach, here are some important highlights.
Cambridge Analytica is a large data anaytics and data mining firm from London that works with political campaigns to collect voter data. One of its founding members is Steve Bannon. The firm’s parent company is the SLC Group. Facebook has recently banned both Cambridge Analytica and the SLC Group from ever working with the social media company again.
Facebook says that 87 million profiles were (essentially) hacked by Cambridge Analytica in 2016. Facebook is the largest social media company in the world – and this was the largest data hack in social media history. The Federal Trade Commission and Congress have both launched investigations into this data breach. However, this was not the first time Facebook has come under scrutiny for privacy concerns. In 2011, the FTC launched an investigation following privacy concerns before the social media giant went public.
The massive Facebook data breach occurred because of a security flaw that let apps data mine the profiles of friends (without their knowledge). About 270,000 users authorized an app – thisisyourdigitallife – which they thought was a personality survey. However, the app was then able to data mine information from the Facebook friends of the 270,000 users that authorized the app. That means the majority of the estimated 87 million users affected by this data breach never used the app – and certainly never authorized it to collect their data.
Facebook now prevents third-party apps from data mining information from your friends. The company claims to have fixed this security hole in 2014. However, many users are left worried about whether third-party apps stole their data before the security fix. Also, many feel angry that something like this could have happened. For example, just because your friend authorizes an app doesn’t mean that you want it to collect your data. Many users still feel uneasy about other potential privacy concerns that aren’t even known yet.
Finally, Facebook knew about the Cambridge Analytica data breach back in 2015. That has left many angry users wondering why it took the social media giant so long to report this problem. Facebook could have reported the data breach sooner – which might have prevented user data from (potential) misuse during the campaign.