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Facebook’s future after Cambridge Analytica scandal

By Danielle Brill - May 3, 2018
Facebook’s future after Cambridge Analytica scandal

Unless you’ve been digitally disconnected, you’ve probably heard about the Cambridge Analytica scandal surrounding Facebook, the world’s biggest social network.

Since The Guardian and New York Times published two explosive reports in mid-March 2018, Facebook has experienced one of its biggest controversies to date – one which sparked a worldwide movement to #DeleteFacebook.

But where did it all begin? And what happens next?

The scandal’s origins can be traced back to 2014 when University of Cambridge professor, Dr Aleksandr Kogan, created what he claimed was a personality-analysis app on Facebook.

By logging into the third-party app with their Facebook account, some 270 000 participants gave the app, called “thisisyourdigitallife”, permission to access their data. However, in doing so, the app also gained access to the data of each of the participant’s Facebook friends – unsuspecting friends who hadn’t given the necessary consent.

In this way, more than 50 million Facebook profiles were exposed and it became one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history when Dr Kogan sold this data to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analytics firm notably employed by the Donald Trump presidential campaign in 2016.

Although denied by Cambridge Analytica, it is alleged that the leaked data was used to assist political organizations in targeting voters based on key demographics found within the data, thereby influencing voter behaviour and subsequent election results.

Following the revelations, concerned social media users were awakened to the far-reaching consequences of sharing info on Facebook.

Some, outraged at the breach of privacy, even called for a mass exodus from the platform through the #DeleteFacebook movement. However, Zuckerberg has since noted that there’s been “no meaningful impact” to on-platform activity. In fact, there are currently over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook, a number increasing with each passing quarter.

So, if Facebook is here to stay, will anything change in the wake of Cambridge Analytica?

Facebook announced a number of changes towards the end of March, including rigorous new policies and terms for third-party app developers working on behalf of a business and a “bug bounty program” where people can report data misuses by app developers – all due to come into effect within the coming weeks.

Perhaps most significantly, the Facebook advertising platform is set to undergo changes that will affect marketers the world over. Already, Facebook has stripped powerful third-party targeting options, including the ability to target people within certain job roles or people more likely to relocate; compelling marketers who previously relied on these insights to come up with other impactful ways to reach their target market.

The good news is that Facebook is making it easier for social media users to control what data they share with the platform and its third-party apps, by making their choices more prominent and easier to manage.

Here are three measures you can take to protect your privacy:

  • Complete a “Privacy Check-up” within the mobile Facebook app. There, you will be taken through three simple steps which will help ensure that you’re sharing the info you want to share, with the people you want to share it with.
  • For a more detailed check-up, log in to Facebook via your desktop and head over to the new “Access Your Information” page found within your General Account Settings. There, you will be able to access all the info you’ve ever given Facebook and delete anything that you no longer want shared with the platform.
  • Be wary of the third-party apps you give permissions to by reviewing each app’s “Privacy Policy” for more details on how they intend to use your data. You will also be given the chance to revoke an app’s access to your data within the “Apps and Websites” tab on desktop or the “Settings & Privacy” tab on mobile.

At Online Innovations, we keep abreast of the latest social media news and trends and adjust our social media strategies accordingly, giving you more time to focus on running your business.

To find out more on our social media management services, contact our team today on 041 365 4919, send us a mail at sales@onlineinnovations.com or find us online at www.onlineinnovations.com