Millions of users’ data on social network have been filtered so that other companies can use them
In recent weeks, Facebook has been involved in scandal for having filtered the personal data of millions of users on the social network.
Everything started in 2014 when Aleksandr Kogan, a professor of psychology, developed an application to predict personality. These programs study the interests and attitudes of the users to predict what they may like. In this way, the content and ads of a website are adapted to each user.
Kogan contacted Facebook to put the application into use: 300,000 users agreed to download the app in exchange for a small sum of money (2-5 dollars). The “thisisyourdigitallife” application analyzed all its Likes, shares, views, places visited…
The problem is that the program not only collected the data of those 300,000 profiles (people who had voluntarily accessed), but also all of their friends’. In total, the personal data of 50 million people was collected, most of which without their permission.
This kind of information is of great value to companies, because they can get to know what people want, so Kogan violated Facebook privacy rules and sold the data from millions of people to Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis company.
The facts have come to light thanks to an investigation run by The New York Times and The Observer. The journalists got to talk to one of the workers of Cambridge Analytica, Christopher Wylie, who became the mole in this story.
Victim or accomplice?
Now the versions are contradictory. Kogan says that Facebook managers knew what was going on, while its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, assured that the app was eliminated in 2015 and that they asked Kogan to destroy all the data collected.
I want to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation — including the steps we've already taken and our next…
It is yet not sure whether Facebook knew what the data was used for or if they are also victims of this fraud. Due to this scandal, value of their shares has now collapsed and the company has suffered losses of thousands of millions of dollars.
On top of this, to make matters worse, governments and authorities had no idea of what was happening.
In the internet era today, where everything happens so fast, the laws and regulations are dated in a split second. It seems that there is still a long way to go until we are actually able to guarantee the privacy and security of people on internet.