Recently, days have been quite frightening for Facebook. The Facebook data breach issue has concerned the whole world. The Guardian and The New York Times have accessed some documents that reveal Cambridge Analytica (CA) was misusing the data obtained from Facebook (Fb).
Cambridge Analytica has used Facebook user data to create voter profiles. Mark Zuckerberg has admitted in his recent interview that Fb has asked CA to delete all the harvested data. Federal agencies are investigating Cambridge Analytica to prove its accountability in the whole scandal. Now people cannot trust Facebook for maintaining privacy anymore. Therefore, “Delete Facebook” is trending all across the globe.
The Delete Facebook campaign has gained a huge response. Facebook features numerous third-party apps that gain access to the user’s public profile. They observe your internet browsing habits to know what you like on the internet. Such details help marketing experts in offering more personalized ads to the users. People knew that their privacy is being compromised and they are against such actions.
How did CA access Fb User data?
Cambridge Analytica is a data mining, information brokerage, and information analysis company. It works as a political consultant with world’s leading political parties. This agency was allegedly helping Donald Trump in gaining the American voters’ attention.
Cambridge Analytica is also accused of misguiding people during the Brexit referendum. Britain was willing to leave the European Union and then voting was conducted to know people’s opinion. The experts along with the whistleblower “Christopher Wylie” believe that CA had influenced people’s behavior during the Brixit referendum.
The process of accessing Facebook user data had begun during 2014 while Donald Trump was preparing for the presidential elections. Did you know that the third-party apps on Facebook, like gaming apps and other apps, ask the users for accessing their public profiles? Every Fb user chooses “Okay” and that’s how these apps get a chance of sneaking into your personal life.
When it comes to FB-CA scandal, Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking platform is accused of sharing everything about the targeted users. Cambridge Analytica had hired Dr. Aleksandr Kogan for developing a third-party app for Facebook. He was allegedly paid over $800,000 for developing ‘thisisyourdigitallife’. This particular application was used to harvest the user data from Facebook.
Kogan’s developed app was downloaded by around 270,000 people. All of these users had granted the permission to access their personal data on Facebook. Though users allowed ‘thisisyourdigitallife’ to access only their info, this app extracted all the details of users’ friends. It did not even inform the victims about what it was doing with their personal information. Kogan had collected all these details and then forwarded these details to Cambridge Analytica and other data mining firms.
How did Kogan gain personal data of users?
This question might be buzzing in your mind for a long time. Every third-party application on Facebook can access only public profiles of the users. Kogan’s app was allegedly authorized to gain many confidential user details such as profiles of the user’s friends, political posts, etc. His firm Global Science Research (GSR) was offering a small prize In lieu of a survey. Many users participated in this survey, but only after granting permission to access their personal information via Facebook.
Millions of Facebook users partaken in the survey only to gain some free bucks. That’s how GSR built psychological and personality profiles of all the surveyed users. These details were sent to Cambridge Analytica and other data mining firms for further analysis.
CA and other big data firms used this data to analyze what do people like, which political party they are supporting, and what is luring them towards a particular political party. Cambridge Analytica closely analyzed the behavior of US voters to aid Donald Trump in his election campaign.
How did CA help Trump in winning the election?
Cambridge Analytica knew what the American voters were considering to choose their future President. It prepared tailored ads to turn people’s views. CA helped Trump in planning a more successful election campaign. All the social media ads were favoring Donald Trump and featuring him as the only best American leader.
Robert Mullar’s role in influencing the Fb-CA Scandal investigation
Robert Muller was assigned to investigate Trump-Russia collusion. The Wall Street Journal found that Muller was trying to affect the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal investigation. According to the renowned newspaper, He allegedly asked Cambridge Analytica to show that Russia was the main culprit in the whole scandal and CA was doing it with the help of Russia.
What is Facebook’s plea in its defense?
Facebook seems like the main culprit because CA had accessed data through this social networking site. However, Facebook says that the data harvesting app was removed during 2015. This app was violating Facebook’s data policies and therefore they removed it.
Facebook’s lawyers have also said that every user had willingly shared his/her personal information. They do not think it was a data breach because the users were agreed to share their personal info. Facebook accused The Observer of defaming its reputation by making false and defamatory allegations.
Zuckerberg is assuring users that more strict rules will be applied to protect your privacy. It is obvious that data is more valuable than anything else in today’s time. This scandal can alert the data thieves to restrict their actions. The social networking platforms would also be alert of such digital thieves to protect their reputation.