Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has finally broken his silence on what is, without a doubt, one of the biggest data breach the social media giant has ever seen. Although, Facebook doesn’t call it a breach in quite the literal sense, it can’t be argued that user data was compromised. At its heart lies Cambridge Analytica, a voter-profiling company based in London, that apparently harvested Facebook data of over 50 million users, without their consent, allegedly influencing the 2016 US presidential election.
In a 937 word Facebook post, Zuckerberg has not only acknowledged the lapse on Facebook’s part but has also talked about steps the company will be taking in the future to ensure such a lapse does not happen again.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you. I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago. But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook.
Here’s everything Facebook will do to ensure a Cambridge Analytica-like data leak doesn’t happen again
1. Facebook says it will now start to review its platform. The company will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before it changed its platform stand in 2014 to reduce data access. It will also conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity. Developers found misusing any personal info of users will be banned from the website.
2. The second important step that Facebook has listed is that it will educate the affected people about data misuse. People will also be informed if their data has been accessed via thisisyourdigitallife — the app the was used to gain access to user data in the first place, and then passed on to Cambridge Analytica — or not. Facebook will also ensure that it will inform users of any app that it may remove in future.
3. Thirdly, Facebook will turn off data access for all unused apps after a certain period of time. Say, if someone has not used an app in three months, the social media will turn off the app’s access to their information.
4. Facebook will restrict login data. In the next version, the social media site will require apps to use only name, profile photo and email address of the user to run the app. Facebook says that requesting any other data will require its approval.
5. Lastly, the social media platform says it will encourage people to manage the apps they use. It will make the process more transparent in future so that people will know what apps their accounts are connected to and also control what data they’ve permitted those apps to use. The company will also expand Facebook’s bug bounty program and reward people who find bugs.
In what has been one of the worst data leaks in Facebook’s history, the social media giant was allegedly deceived by an upstart voter profiling company to acquire personal Facebook details of over 50 million users and used for building algorithms that allegedly helped Trump win the US election 2014. Facebook, on its first reaction, said that there was no data breach at all.
“Aleksandr Kogan requested and gained access to information from users who chose to sign up for his app, and everyone involved gave their consent. People knowingly provided their information, no systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked,” Paul Grewal, VP & deputy general counsel at Facebook said in a blog post recently. The social media platform has suspended Cambridge Analytica and SCL from its website after it came under intense scrutiny across the globe.