Facebook faces data breach scandal

Data company Cambridge Analytica harvested Facebook users information without consent

In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, many high school students have left the world of Facebook.

However, according to CNNMoney, Facebook still has close to 2 billion users.

Out of this number, 87 million of these profiles were endangered through the Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal.

According to the New York Times, CA began working with Dr. Kogan, a psychology professor at Cambridge University in 2014. Dr. Kogan created an app, which soon began collecting data from Facebook users for CA.

In 2014, 270,000 Facebook users completed a personality survey, giving CA access to their likes and profiles. Not only did the app harvest information from those who completed the quiz, but also that of their friends, meaning the data of over 87 million others had been collected without consent, or knowledge.

CA then used this data to target populations with political messaging, some of which was used to aid the Trump campaign.

According to the NYtimes, “Facebook prohibits this kind of data to be sold or transferred ‘to any ad network, data broker or other advertising or monetization-related service.’”

Despite previous concerns about the app on Facebook as well as guarantees that the data had been deleted, this scandal only became prevalent in 2018, after  “whistleblower” Christopher Wylie made information public to British authorities.

Since then, Facebook has removed the app from the site and demanded that the data be destroyed.  

Since then, many have deleted their Facebooks, and the hashtag: DeleteFacebook, is taking over twitter.

After a 5-day silence, Zuckerberg has apologized for this break in user trust.

He testified twice, on April 10th, and 11th in front of congress.

Zuckerberg arrived at the capitol in a suit and tie, and was greeted by protesters holding  cutouts of himself, with the words: fix Facebook. For 5 hours, lawmakers questioned whether or not Facebook should be regulated more harshly after its failure to protect users’ data.

Despite harsh questioning, Facebook’s stock actually climbed by 4.5% by the end of the day.

On the second day, Zuckerberg faced 10 hours of pressure by congressional members of both parties.


Contact the writer, Sophia DeLuca at [email protected]

All photos courtesy of Creative Commons.