According to the breaking news on March 17, 2018, consultants involved in the presidential campaign for Donald Trump misused millions of personal Facebook data. This data was unethically used for promoting political ads during the US presidential election of 2016.
While the recent outbreak of Facebook’s data breach has blown away the data of 50 million users (the biggest-ever two-day drop), here’s a deep insight on how this issue took place, what are the setbacks and Zuckerberg’s viewpoint on how to get it fixed through the implementation of a few alterations on Facebook.
What Cambridge Analytica is all about?
Cambridge Analytical comes under the SCL Group, a government and military contractor which works in almost all the sectors including counter-narcotics, food security research, political campaigns, and much more.
While SCL was established almost 25 years ago, Cambridge Analytica was developed around 2013. The main motto behind its development was to promote the elections of the United States.
What does this firm do?
This firm provides support to help political campaigns reach their target voters digitally. Cambridge Analytica works by combining data from various sources covering online details and polling, to create “profiles” of voters. After this, it predicts the behavior of voters by using computer-based programs which could be further used for specialized ads aiming for the voters.
What’s the link between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica?
As per the recent statement made by Facebook on Friday, March 16, the user data Cambridge Analytica received was from a lecturer at the University of Cambridge named Aleksandr Kogan.
Kogan immediately developed an app entitled “thisisyourdigitallife” for providing personality predictions to users while claiming itself a research tool for psychologists.
Whoever used the app had to log in through their individual Facebook account. During the login process, it asked for permission to access the user’s personal Facebook account that includes locations, friends list, etc.
As per the issues reported by Facebook, this user data was sent by Kogan to Cambridge Analytica without the permission of users thereby violating the rules of the social network.
“Although Kogan gained access to this information in a legitimate way and through the proper channels that governed all developers on Facebook at that time, he did not subsequently abide by our rules,” Paul Grewal, vice president and general counsel at Facebook, said in a statement.
However, the good news is that Mark Zuckerberg has already initiated some steps addressing this issue.
Zuckerberg’s Plan- The Upcoming Changes on Facebook
Being a prominent, responsible, and secure social network, Facebook has been working to scrutinize this problem to understand what exactly happened and how can it be fixed permanently. Take a look at Zuckerberg’s plan on the upcoming alterations on Facebook.
First of all, there will be a thorough investigation of all the apps that provided access to huge information before Facebook altered its platform to decrease data access in the year 2014. Post this the social media network will conduct a complete audit of any app associated with the distrustful activity. If Facebook finds any developer misusing personal information, it will immediately ban him and inform users affected by those apps. This covers the data Kogan has misused as well.
Secondly, Facebook will limit developers’ data access for the prevention of any kind of abuse. For instance, Facebook will eliminate developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in 3 months. The data asked for access while signing in to an app will be reduced to only your name, profile photo, and email id. In addition to this, the developers will also need to take approval and sign a contract for accessing their posts or private data.
Thirdly, Facebook wants its users to understand which apps they have granted permission to access their data. In the coming month, it will introduce a tool at the top of the News Feed featuring the apps the user has used. This will make it easier for users to revoke the permission of those apps from accessing their data. Although Facebook already has an existing tool for this in the privacy settings now this tool will be seen at the top of the News Feed.