Facebook's widening crisis over user data

Adjust Comment Print

It illicitly obtained information from as many as 50 million Facebook profiles by abusing Facebook's data-sharing features.

The ads signed by Mark Zuckerberg said a quiz app built by a Cambridge University researcher leaked Facebook data of millions of people four years ago.

"They're being very deft and creating the illusion of trust", said Scott Galloway, a New York University professor of marketing.

I've just looked at the data files I requested from Facebook and they had every single phone number in my contacts.

Will brands still use Facebook? Even Zuckerberg has admitted a crisis in trust
Facebook's widening crisis over user data

"I said these are the areas where the company is exposed and user data is still at risk".

Far from being the mild mannered computer geek he appears at first glance, there are notorious stories of Zuckerberg giving rousing Braveheart-esque speeches to Facebook employees.

They grant sign-on access via Facebook with one click, and in turn, those app developers can get personal data. Wall Street analysts who follow Facebook don't seem anxious yet, despite the sharp drop in the company's stock this week.

A DPC report in December 2011 blasted: "We do not consider that reliance on developer adherence to best practice or stated policy in certain cases is sufficient to ensure security of user data". It can, for instance, single out users who live in Kansas and have listed Bernie Sanders and same-sex marriage as their interests - which is exactly what some Russian-linked ads did as part of a propaganda campaign during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

The company has come under enormous scrutiny - and his stock price has been battered - after revelations about data firm Cambridge Analytica, which was able to gain access to user data using an electronic survey that went out to a fraction of the people whose data they got.

Internet NZ chief executive Jordan Carter said Facebook breached its own terms and conditions by allowing the company to use the data in this way.

"I would say to him: You can fix it".

Born in NY, the computer programmer shot to notoriety after building a social network with his buddies at Harvard University that grew to eclipse all others in the West, and in the process he has gained a reputation for a ruthlessness not uncommon among titans of industry.

A Facebook spokesman confirmed the company had received the House letter and was reviewing it, but did not say whether or not Zuckerberg would agree to testify.

After the friend rebuffed a takeover offer he agreed to work with Facebook and shared his start-up company's road map. That would let people decide whether or not to keep them.

But he added: "I think it was well understood both internally and externally that there was risk with the way Facebook was handling data".