In A Detailed Post, Zuckerberg Addresses The Cambridge Analytica Issue, Admits “Breach Of Trust”
March 22nd, 2018
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Facebook, in an FB post, presented his version of the Cambridge Analytical (CA) issue. In the post, he admitted to the breach of trust in the CA issue. He also gave an account of the company’s next course of action in protecting users data and providing a secure platform.
British analytical firm, Cambridge Analytica (CA) is said to have illegally harvested profiles of 50 million users to create marketing strategies and political campaigns. The analysis of Cambridge Analytica reportedly helped US President Donald Trump win the elections. It is also said to have helped the pro-Brexit campaign in the UK.
Zuckerberg mentioned in the post that he is trying to “understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Cambridge Analytica Issue
The UK-firm was created in 2013 with a $15 million funding from billionaire Republican donor Robert Mercer. It is an offshoot of a government and military contractor, Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL). This company offers services in consumer research, targeted advertising and other data related services. The company has both politicians and corporates as clients. The firm has said to have aided Trump’s election campaign and even the pro-Brexit campaign.
From 2014, Cambridge Analytica obtained data of as many as 50 million Facebook users. In an interview to Journalist Carole Cadwalladr, the 28-year-old former employee of CA Chris Wylie revealed that the company acquired data in 2014, via an app named thisisyourdigitallife, which was built by Aleksandr Kogan, an academic at Cambridge University. Although this app was downloaded by 2,70,000 Facebook users, this app also pulled in data of the users other Facebook friends, this allowed CA to harvest data of about 50 million users without consent. The information campaigns then used these data to customise their strategy or “micro-target” to influence users based on their preferences and vulnerabilities.
Kogan said that he was not aware that his tool was being used illegally.
CA is being investigated by UK’s Electoral Commission for its role in Brexit referendum and by UK’s Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC). In the US, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into CA’s role, apart from investigating Russian links to Trump campaign.
House of Commons Parliamentary committee has asked Zuckerberg to appear before it to answer questions regarding the issue. Also, the lawmakers said that Zuckerberg has to appear before US Congress. European Parliament has said that it will investigate this matter.
Mark Zuckerberg, on March 22, in his post about the Cambridge Analytica issue, said that the company promises to “work through this and build a better service over the long term.” In the detailed statement, Zuckerberg presented the entire timeline of events that transpired.
Zuckerberg listed three important steps that the company plans to take. He said that the first step would be conducting an audit of app for any suspicious activity. This would be in addition to the investigation of all the apps that had access to a large amount of data before the platform was revamped to reduce data access in 2014.
He said that the second step would be to restrict developers’ data access to prevent other kinds of abuse.
He has announced that the tool, which helps user to understand which apps they have allowed to access their data, would now be put on top of the News Feed. This tool was previously present in the privacy settings.
I want to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation — including the steps we've already taken and our next…