On April 10 Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, appeared before congress to testify in regard to Facebook’s role in a massive improper data release in conjunction with British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica, per their website, is a consulting firm that focuses on data mining, brokerage and analysis to create strategic communications in hopes to influencing electoral races for their customers.
The allegations surrounding Facebook reached its peak when it was discovered that Cambridge Analytica improperly gained access to over 58 million user profiles through a Facebook app created by Aleksandr Kogan, a Russian-American psychology professor, said Facebook in a press release.
Although Facebook was not directly responsible for the released data, Congress and the American people are saying that Facebook is not doing enough to protect user privacy and data. Facebook agrees; “this was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it,” said Zuckerberg.
Aptly put, all of this means that Facebook undervalues user privacy and data protection and overvalued revenue and ad creation. “We didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm…we didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” said Zuckerberg, during his testimony before congress.
What Happens Next?
Now that Facebook has taken responsibility for the lack of privacy precautions and safeties, the only thing left for the tech giant is to actually do something about it. This isn’t the first time that Facebook has come under fire for privacy issues, but Facebook users are hoping it will be the last.