Over the last couple of weeks, a lot of information has come around surrounding a scandal involving the world’s largest social media business; Facebook. Having allowed sensitive consumer data to fall into the wrong hands, the massive company is having to face the prospect of direct regulation from several world governments, massive fines, and even criminal charges brought against them. But, what exactly did they do so wrong?
Facebook has had a developer platform in place for a very long time. Providing invaluable tools to people making websites and software, this system is great for anyone trying to make a third-party app. Of course, though, when it comes to new services like this, it can take a lot of learning before they are perfect, leading to big mistakes being made. In the case of Facebook, they simply gave developers too much freedom when it came to collecting data. Assuming that their policies and terms were enough to prevent data breaches, they left their user’s data to be ripe for the taking.
A few years ago, Cambridge University’s Aleksandr Kogan released a tool which enabled him to collect user information when the signed up. Using a loophole in the API’s design, Kogan was able to collect the data of not only the users signing up, but also of select groups of their friends, resulting in over 80 million users data being collected within a matter of months. Up until this point, though, not much wrong had been done, and Facebook’s user agreement was the only thing broken.
This data didn’t sit around for long, though, and it soon found itself being bought by a data analytics company called Cambridge Analytica. At this point, the story begins to get a little hazy, but it is widely suspected that this user data was used as a tool to influence both Brexit and the 2016 US elections, violating both laws and user agreements which Facebook is supposed to uphold.
For most users, this issue isn’t anything to worry about, and it’s unlikely that your data is out there and being used without your knowledge. If you suspect your data has been breached, though, it could be worth talking to a company like Shakfeh Law LLC to give you the power to take the right action against those abusing your information. It’s likely that Facebook will face a lot of legal challenges over the next few months as a result of this breach. Not only will they have to fight in court, though, but they will also have to win back the trust of the massive user base they serve.
Hopefully, with all of this in mind, you will feel a little more resolved when it comes to keeping your Facebook account. Breaches like this are a fairly common occurrence in the world of the Internet, and it’s unlikely to stop until companies have had enough time to iron out there policies. Until then, it is worth only posting information which you wouldn’t mind the whole world having access to.