The Facebook Data Mining Scandal — What happened?
Facebook recently made headlines after news broke that the UK-based firm Cambridge Analytica had used a quiz app to gain unauthorized
access to millions of user information. This latest Facebook data mining scandal has many calling for greater accountability and for high ranking officials to take the necessary measures towards greater data security.
Data ripped included users’ identities, their friend networks, and the various likes/interests from millions of Facebook users. Officials of both companies have asserted that nothing illegal has taken place, given that all users (inadvertently) gave consent by agreeing to the user conditions in the app. With social logins growing in popularity over the years as one of the most convenient means of accessing an application or platform, more users are opting to leverage this technology, which means the risk of unauthorized Facebook data mining is only going to increase.
What exactly happened with the Facebook data mining scandal?
Before we go any further, it’s important to point out that this is not at all a fringe event — this happens all the time and Cambridge Analytica is not the only company to exploit this. In fact, a few years ago, Sandy Parakilas, a platform operations manager at Facebook who had the difficult job of monitoring and policing data breaches by third-party software developers, warned the company about such risks. In an interview with the Guardian, he warned senior executives at the company that its very relaxed and “turn a blind eye” approach to data protection placed all the platform’s users at risk of a major data breach.
However, since the main focus these days is on the breach/scandal as it pertains to Cambridge Analytica, let’s focus on that.
In short, what happened was that the political research firm was able to gain access to data belonging to over 50 million Facebook users through a third-party personality quiz application — the users had absolutely no knowledge of this and had not explicitly given consent for this to take place. Given Facebook’s policies at the time to hinder these types of activities, the quiz app was able to pass this information along to the firm, which then used the information to create detailed user profiles of Facebook users. They used this profiles to essentially develop micro-targeted political ads that were intended to sway users in favor of one candidate during the 2016 US Presidential elections.
While it’s a given that the ad-campaign likely had minimal impact on actually swaying voters, it is the principle and breach of data/confidence behind this event that has many people shocked.
Who exactly was impacted?
What’s unique about this particular breach of data was that the Facebook data mining scandal did not just impact the users who took the quiz, but all their friends and other shared interests as well. Consider this for a moment — only 270,000 people downloaded the quiz app, however, over 50 million users had their information accessed.
This level of data compromisation means that any company, not just a political research firm, could gain such personal pieces of information, which could then be leveraged for various purposes — including targeted advertising.
The justification of people who side with Facebook, especially Facebook executives, on this particular issue is that (technically) “everyone involved gave their consent”, given that the minute a user accepted the infamous Terms and Conditions checkbox, they opened themselves up to having their data accessed. The only problem with this argument is that consent usually implies that users were aware that their data was being harvested — in this case, a huge majority did not.
– Special tip –
If you haven’t already done so or figured out how to do so, here’s how you can check which apps have access to your’s and your FB friends’ information.
Access Facebook through your desktop/laptop or via your mobile app, hit the drop-down menu on the top-right side and select “Settings”.
Next, select “Apps”, which should be on the left side of the page on desktop. On the mobile version, all you need to is scroll down the settings page.
Once you access this page, you will be able to see all the apps that have access to your personal data, like your gender, networks you belong to, your username, user ID, full name, your profile picture. You can also see which ones have access to your full friends list and any other public information on your profile. Surprisingly, most people have absolutely no clue how this works — despite having above-average tech savviness.
In the moment, selecting whether or not to use your social information to log in may seem like the convenient option, however, it’s always advised that you should carefully read and consider the terms of the app.
How can the IAME identification network completely transform/fix this?
Given that the IAME platform is all about heightening identity and data security/management, it goes without saying that decentralised fragmented approach would fundamentally transform how data is shared across the social platform — if it was implemented there.
Speaking about the recent data debacle, our Engineering and Entrepreneurship advisor, Oliver Oxenham, said it best — “If I consent an app to get my contact as well as my friends list, the app should not be able to contact my friends. Only me. Somehow, in this scenario, the app was able to gather a list of 50 million contacts with only 270k users. I think with IAME’s identity management, it would be easier for Facebook to provide users with the ability to share what they really want to share. In this case, maybe it would have been just my friends names and not their contact information”.
If you would like to know more about the Facebook data mining scandal, the blockchain space, and other related topics, stay tuned to our blog series. If you’d like to know about IAME and our upcoming ICO, please visit our website, read our white paper, and check out our road map. Feel free to contact a member of our team by visiting our Facebook page, or by following us on Twitter.
Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and data mining: What you need to know
The world’s biggest social network is at the center of an international scandal involving voter data, the 2016 US presidential election, and Brexit.
Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and data mining: What you need to know
The world’s biggest social network is at the center of an international scandal involving voter data, the 2016 US presidential election
Consultants working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign exploited the personal Facebook data of millions.
Last month, The New York Times and the UK’s Guardian and Observer newspapers broke news the social networking giant was duped by researchers, who reportedly gained access to the data of millions of Facebook users and then may have misused it for political ads during the 2016 US presidential election. Facebook said it was investigating the reports, which involved data consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
Over the past three-plus weeks, the situation has snowballed. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in Washington this week to testify before Congress. Meanwhile, the number of accounts affected has risen to 87 million from initial reports of 50 million. Separately, Facebook said it was purging pages linked to a Russian troll farm that’s known for creating fake online identities and posting on both sides of politically divisive issues.
Cambridge Analytica reportedly acquired the data in a way that violated the social network’s policies. It then reportedly tapped the information to build psychographic profiles of users and their friends, which were used for targeted political ads in the UK’s Brexit referendum campaign, as well as by Trump’s team during the 2016 US election.
Facebook says it told Cambridge Analytica to delete the data, but reports suggest the info wasn’t destroyed. Cambridge Analytica says it complies with the social network’s rules, only receives data “obtained legally and fairly,” and did wipe out the data Facebook is worried about.
Here’s what you need to know.
Now playing: Did Facebook lose control of your information? 3:28
What is Cambridge Analytica?
Cambridge Analytica is a UK-based data analytics firm, whose parent company is Strategic Communication Laboratories. Cambridge Analytica helps political campaigns reach potential voters online. The firm combines data from multiple sources, including online information and polling, to build “profiles” of voters. It then uses computer programs to predict voter behavior, which could be influenced through specialized advertisements aimed at the voters.
Cambridge Analytica isn’t working with a small amount of user data. The company says it has “5,000 data points on over 230 million American voters” — or pretty much all of us, considering there are an estimated 250 million people of voting age in the US.
The company has since faced criticism for what executives, including CEO Alexander Nix, said in a series of undercover videos shot by the UK’s Channel 4. In the videos, Nix discussed lies and apparent blackmail he’d perform as part of his efforts to sway elections.
“We have lots of history of things,” Nix said in the videos, “I’m just giving you examples of what can be done and what, what has been done.”
Nix has since been suspended from his job as CEO. His comments “do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation,” the company said in a statement.
What did Cambridge Analytica do?
Facebook said in a statement on March 16 that Cambridge Analytica received user data from Aleksandr Kogan, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge. Kogan reportedly created an app called “thisisyourdigitallife” that ostensibly offered personality predictions to users while calling itself a research tool for psychologists.
The app asked users to log in using their Facebook accounts. As part of the login process, it asked for access to users’ Facebook profiles, locations, what they liked on the service, and importantly, their friends’ data as well.
The problem, Facebook says, is that Kogan then sent this user data to Cambridge Analytica without user permission, something that’s against the social network’s rules.
“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, a vice president and general counsel at Facebook, said in a statement.
Kogan didn’t respond to requests for comment. The New York Times said he cited nondisclosure agreements and declined to provide details about what happened, saying his personality prediction program was “a very standard vanilla Facebook app.”
A former Cambridge Analytica executive, Brittany Kaiser, said it’s possible more people’s profiles have been caught up in the scandal than the 87 million Facebook has so far counted. “It is almost certain,” she said in a hearing before the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee on April 17.
What does this have to do with Trump?
The Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica to run data operations during the 2016 election. Steve Bannon, who eventually became Trump’s chief strategist, was also reportedly vice president of Cambridge Analytica’s board. The company helped the campaign identify voters to target with ads, and gave advice on how best to focus its approach, such as where to make campaign stops. It also helped with strategic communication, like what to say in speeches.
“The applications of what we do are endless,” Nix said last year in an interview with CNET sister site TechRepublic.
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Cambridge Analytica also worked with other 2016 presidential election campaigns, according to its website and various media reports. Those included the campaigns of Sen. Ted Cruz and candidate Ben Carson, who went on to join Trump’s cabinet as secretary of housing and urban development.
Why did Facebook ban Cambridge Analytica from its service?
Facebook said Cambridge Analytica “certified” three years ago it had deleted the information, as did Kogan. But since then, Facebook said, it’s received reports that not all the user data was deleted. The New York Times reported at the outset of this controversy that at least some of it remains.
Cambridge Analytica said in a statement that it deleted all the data and is in contact with Facebook about the issue.
Meanwhile, Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who detailed how Cambridge Analytica reportedly misappropriated the Facebook data, said on Twitter that his Facebook account had been suspended. A few days later, he held a press conference to discuss his situation and the larger controversy.
“I’m actually really confused by Facebook,” Wylie said. “They make me out to be this suspect or some kind of nefarious person.”
Was Facebook hacked?
The New York Times characterized the original problem as a data “breach” and said it’s “one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history.” That’s in part because the roughly 270,000 users who gave Kogan access to their information allowed him to collect data on their friends as well. In total, more than 87 million Facebook users are said to have been affected.
The misuse of this data is what The New York Times zeroed in on.
MORE ON THE CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SAGA
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- Facebook suspends whistleblower’s account after report
- How to delete your Facebook account once and for all
Facebook, however, says that while Kogan mishandled its data, all the information Kogan got was accessed legally and within its rules. The problem is that Kogan was supposed to hold on to the information himself, not hand it over to Cambridge Analytica or anyone else. Because the information was accessed through normal means, Facebook disputes the characterization of the incident as a breach.
“People knowingly provided their information, no systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked,” the company said.
Of course, critics point out that Kogan was able to do what he allegedly did because Facebook allowed app developers to request and receive access to the data of users’ friends. Facebook changed that policy in 2015, prohibiting the practice.
Wait, so Facebook allows apps to access my data?
When you log in to an app using your Facebook account, the developer typically asks for access to information the social network has. Sometimes it’s just your name and email address. Other times, it’s your location and your friends’ data too.
All this is pretty much what any app developer that works with Facebook was allowed to do until 2015, when Facebook prevented app developers from accessing friends’ data. Everything else, though, is still fair game.
Facebook says its rules specify that developers can’t share the information they receive with other firms. That’s where the problem with Kogan and Cambridge Analytica comes up.
The company has an app review process it puts developers through. Once they’re cleared, things are A-OK.
You hand your information over to app developers all the time. Don’t like it? Think before you click. And read the requests from app developers more carefully.
Facebook, by the way, is hoping to stop the next Cambridge Analytica. It’s offered a bounty to anyone who finds apps that misuse Facebook data. The company has also revamped its tools to help you identify which apps have access to your data, as well as those to strengthen security of your profile. Facebook also made it easier to download data it has on you.
Could this lead to more regulation?
Zuckerberg himself said it might.
“I’m actually not sure we shouldn’t be regulated,” he said in an interview with CNN on March 21. “The question is, what is the right regulation?”
He answered that question on April 6, saying he supports the Honest Ads Act, a proposed law that would require tech companies to disclose how political ads are targeted and how much they cost.
Regardless of whether that bill becomes a law, there’s one thing we know for sure: The honeymoon between the tech industry and government is over. After decades of (mostly) treating tech companies as favored children, legislators and government regulators are increasingly taking a tougher stance against them.
“This latest fiasco could reignite the debate within the Beltway and EU around a tighter regulatory environment Facebook and its social platform brethren could face going forward,” Daniel Ives, an analyst at GBH Insights, wrote in a note to investors right after the controversy erupted. “This represents another critical period for Facebook to hand hold and assure its users and regulators around tighter content standards and platform security in light of this latest PR nightmare.”
Facebook also faces an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over whether it violated a 2011 consent decree. Companies that have settled previous FTC actions, the US agency said, must comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements.
“Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook,” the agency said in a statement on March 26. “Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.”The FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook.US Federal Trade Commission
The consent decree required that Facebook must get users to agree to and must notify them about the social network sharing their data. Facebook earlier told The Washington Post it rejects “any suggestion of violation of the consent decree.”
In Europe, where regulators have traditionally taken a tough stance on social media and privacy, the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, tweeted that EU lawmakers “will investigate fully, calling digital platforms to account.” In the UK, Damian Collins, the chair of Parliament’s committee overseeing digital matters, said Zuckerberg needs to stand up and answer questions directly.
What happened in Zuckerberg’s appearance before Congress?
A little over three weeks after the Cambridge Analytica news broke, Zuckerberg went to Washington, where over two days he endured 10 hours of questioning by congressional committees. Echoing earlier statements, he apologized to lawmakers for Facebook’s recent missteps and voiced support for some regulation of the tech industry.
In his first day of testimony, he did score some points. Zuckerberg addressed a room full of Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee members who struggled to understand what Facebook does, how the social platform works, and how to regulate it. He escaped largely unscathed, having settled into his role as both an explainer of technology and a receiver of the occasional finger-wag.
But on day two, things got a little rougher. His appearance before the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee was defined by pointed questions from lawmakers who appeared to have done their homework.
Some, like New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, hammered Zuckerberg on default privacy settings. California Rep. Anna Eshoo asked Zuckerberg if his own data was swept up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. (He said that it was.) And Florida Rep. Kathy Castor and New Mexico Rep. Ben Lujan raised concerns about how much Facebook follows people as they browse the web — and whether people without accounts on the social media network still get tracked via “shadow profiles.” Zuckerberg said that he wasn’t familiar with that term and that Facebook collects data on nonusers for security purposes.
“Your business is built on trust, and you’re losing trust,” Lujan said.
But apparently Facebook hasn’t lost Wall Street’s confidence. The company’s shares rose approximately 5 percent over the two days of testimony.
Was this similar to what the Obama campaign did on Facebook?
Sort of. The Obama campaign did collect a similar level of data from its app, which includes both your information and your friend’s information.
But as Politifact notes, users were willingly giving up that information and knew it was going to a political campaign. The Obama campaign used your friend’s data to figure out who may or may not be willing to vote for him, and sent messages to users to persuade their friends.
That’s different from the Cambridge Analytica situation, since most users taking the digital life quiz had no idea that the data would be used for political purposes.
What’s Facebook doing about this?
After five long days, Zuckerberg broke his silence on March 21 with a nearly 1,000-word post on his Facebook page. (C’mon, did you really expect it to show up on Twitter?) The post was his first since since March 2, when he shared a photo of his family celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook had made mistakes with users’ information. “We have a responsibility to protect your data,” he wrote. “And if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.”
He’s since sat down for several media interviews, and on April 4, held an hour-long conference call with journalists. “Life is learning from mistakes,” Zuckerberg said. “At the end of the day, this is my responsibility. I started this place, I run it, I’m responsible.”
The company, he said, is now facing two central questions: “Can we get our systems under control and second, can we make sure that our systems aren’t used to undermine democracy,” Zuckerberg said.
“It’s not enough to give people a voice, we have to make sure that people are not using that voice to spread disinformation,” he added.
And, specifically, he acknowledged that Facebook has “to ensure that everyone in our ecosystem protects people’s information.”We have a responsibility to protect your data. And if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
He’s promised to investigate apps that had access to “large amounts of information” before the company made changes to how much information third-party apps could access in 2018. Facebook will conduct a full audit of apps that exhibit suspicious behavior and bar developers who don’t agree to audits.
On April 6, Facebook said it was banning AggregateIQ, another political analytics firm that’s reportedly tied to Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL. (Aggregate IQ denies this connection.) Facebook said it instituted the ban out of concern that AggregateIQ may have improperly received Facebook user data as well.
Facebook’s public missteps have brought up other concerns about Facebook too. One example is a memo leaked to BuzzFeed penned by Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, a top Facebook executive. The 2016 memo advocates growth above everything else, regardless of whether people use Facebook to bully and harass one another.
“The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good,” he wrote at the time. He’s since said he was trying to stir debate, and didn’t agree with what he’d written.
Facebook is also planning to restrict how much access developers have to your information, limiting the information it gives apps to your name, photo and email address. It’ll also revoke an app’s access to your data if you haven’t used it for three months.
The company is also planning to further restrict political advertising, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “If you were using hate-based language in ads for elections, we’re drawing those lines much tighter and applying them uniformly,” she said.
Last, Facebook will begin displaying a gauge at the top of your News Feed that lets you know which apps you’ve used and let you revoke their permissions.
All of that will provide comfort to many users, but for others …
Watch this: Facebook needs to regain the public’s trust, says New… 1:38
Are people bailing from Facebook?
They are, though it’s still too early to know if that’ll have a substantial effect on Facebook’s gargantuan user numbers. Right off the bat, the hashtag #DeleteFacebook flared up on Twitter — backed by, notably, Brian Acton, WhatsApp’s co-founder who sold the messaging service to Facebook for $19 billion.
We’re also starting to see some action that could hit Facebook in the wallet. Within days of the scandal erupting, Firefox maker Mozilla said it would no longer advertise on Facebook because of data privacy concerns, and it launched a petition to ask the social network to improve its privacy settings. Meanwhile, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has taken a different kind of stand. Prompted by an inquiry from a Twitter user, he quickly deleted both companies’ Facebook pages. So did Playboy, for what it’s worth.
Beyond those high profile moves, a recent survey from the anonymous employee social network Blind found that 31 percent of tech workers plan to delete Facebook too. Coverage of Facebook has turned negative too, a survey by BuzzFeed found.
Still, Zuckerberg said in a call on April 4 that the larger #DeleteFacebook campaign hasn’t had a noticeable effect on its active user counts.
Ultimately, reform is what’s needed, said former Cambridge Analytica executive Brittany Kaiser. “For many years, I never questioned it,” Kaiser said. “That’s the way that the political system works. That’s the way that advertising works. That’s the way that every single industry that exists in the entire basis of digital communications works. I do really understand the industry, and I have the ability to be a voice for change.”
What can I do?
There isn’t much. You may’ve been swept up in this without even knowing it. You don’t have to have downloaded Kogan’s app to have had your information accessed, since the statements and articles say the app slurped up information about users’ friends.
Cambridge Analytica also doesn’t appear to offer a way for you to request your information be removed from its systems. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.
As for Facebook, you can always try to lodge a complaint with Zuckerberg.
You should also check your privacy settings on Facebook and consider these ways to stop sharing data with Facebook. And if you’re really unhappy, you could get involved in a class action lawsuit. You could also join the #DeleteFacebook campaign. Here’s how to do it.
Facebook marks 15 years under a cloud of scandal
Date created : 04/02/2019 – 18:39Latest update : 05/02/2019 – 10:17
The world’s largest social media site, with more than 2 billion users worldwide, marks its 15th anniversary Monday beset by scandals and accusations that it has failed to prevent, and even fostered, the mining of user data by private companies.ADVERTISING
Given its stated commitment to remaining a free service, the social media giant had to look at other ways of monetising its business model. The data it collects on users offered one way to turn information into a profit-making enterprise. Facebook “likes”, link shares, user profiles and online quizzes all offer insights that can be put to use targeting potential customers – and voters.
One of Facebook’s first attempts to monetise user data took place in 2007, when its Beacon system began tracking users whenever they visited third-party partner sites. So someone who bought something online while still logged in to Facebook would have that purchase announced in their Facebook news feed, with often unintended consequences.
In 2011 the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ordered Facebook to improve its handling of personal data after it was revealed that information Facebook users thought was private had been shared with the public starting in 2009.
The FTC also maintained that Facebook had allowed advertisers to access a user’s personal information whenever he or she clicked on a Facebook ad.
A major player in one of Facebook’s most notorious scandals came on the scene in February 2014. Political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica’s CEO Alexander Nix teamed up with Cambridge psychology lecturer Aleksandr Kogan, who developed an app (thisisyourdigitallife) offering a personality quiz. And Cambridge Analytica paid people to take it.
“The app recorded the results of each quiz, collected data from the taker’s Facebook account – and, crucially, extracted the data of their Facebook friends as well,” UK newspaper the Guardian wrote in an exposé of Cambridge Analytica practices.
To be eligible for the quiz one needed to be a US voter with a Facebook account. The results were linked to respondents’ other Facebook data as well as voter rolls to build an algorithm that could predict the results of other users.
From an initial group of 320,000 quiz-takers the researchers managed to create records on at least 2 million people across 11 key US states, the Guardian reported: “Eventually a few hundred thousand paid test-takers would be the key to data from a vast swath of US voters.”
Cambridge Analytica – funded largely by conservative US billionaire Robert Mercer and run by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon – could then use this psychological information to target more effective messages at the US electorate or even suppress turnout.
Nix and other Cambridge Analytica executives later boasted how they used the tools they developed to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election.
Cambridge Analytica – as well as Bannon, its former vice president – are also suspected of having played a role in the “Leave” campaign ahead of the Brexit referendum.
Facebook has denied that Cambridge Analytica’s profile mining constituted a data breach but said in a statementlast year that it had removed Kogan’s app from the site and demanded all inappropriately collected data be destroyed.
“Although Kogan gained access to this information in a legitimate way and through the proper channels”, he subsequently violated Facebook platform policies by “passing information on to a third party”.
A New York Times investigation last March found that Cambridge Analytica not only amassed this private Facebook data but that it “still possesses most or all of the trove”.
Cambridge Analytica then reportedly shared data with entities linked to Russian intelligence.
Facebook admitted in 2017 that Russian content, which heavily favoured Donald Trump, likely reached as many as 126 million Americans on its platform during the US presidential election campaign. This content included fake news items and memes targeting African American voters – who tend to vote Democrat – to discourage them from voting.
In an interview with FRANCE 24 in June, former US director of national intelligence James Clapper said Russian interference may have even been responsible for handing the election to Trump.
“When you consider that the election turned on less than 80,000 votes in three key states, when you look at the massive effort that the Russians directed across many fronts and using multifaceted enablers, notably social media… “
“To me, it just stretches logic and credulity to think that the Russians didn’t have [a] profound impact on the outcome of the election and in fact could have turned it,” he said.
But more trouble was brewing for Facebook. In April 2018 the company announced that Cambridge Analytica may have accessed the data of up to 87 million people. (Cambridge Analytica, for its part, said it only had data on 30 million.)
Facebook said “malicious actors” had taken advantage of its search tools, allowing them to collect information on most of its 2 billion users.
“Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped,” the company said in a blog post.
Hackers had also accessed the platform’s account recovery system by pretending to be users who forgot their passwords.
Facebook said it had unveiled new privacy policies attempting to clarify what data it collects and how it is used. But founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted fixing all of the outstanding issues could take years.
Days later, Zuckerberg faced a Senate hearing looking into the data mining allegations. He told lawmakers that every time users share something on Facebook they are offered options on how to share it. But he said Facebook does store content, with permission, that is later used for audience targeting.
“We do not sell data to advertisers,” he said.
“What we allow is for advertisers to tell us who they want to reach, and then we do the placement … That’s a very fundamental part of how our model works and something that is often misunderstood,” he added.
But later revelations again piqued concerns that the firm might be willing to sacrifice user privacy for ad dollars.
The New York Times reported in early June that Facebook had struck data-sharing agreements with “at least 60” mobile device manufacturers including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung. The paper found that Facebook allowed the companies “access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders”.
Nor was increasing Facebook privacy settings always enough to avoid having your data accessed.
“Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing.”
Facebook officials said the data sharing fell within the scope of its privacy policies.
Just two days after the Times report, Facebook publicly admitted that it had allowed Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, to access data on the site’s users. US officials have repeatedly expressed concern that Huawei could be used as a conduit for spying and sabotage, noting its links to the Chinese government.
Another New York Times report from December found that Facebook gave 150 private companies access to the data of hundreds of millions users.
“Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent,” the Times wrote.
Moreover, Facebook allowed Spotify, Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada to read, write or delete private messages.
The social network also gave retail companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Sony access to user names and contact information – including email addresses and phone numbers – through their friends.
A company so beset by scandals would normally be in hot water. Indeed, as reports of the breaches have taken hold the company’s share price has at times dropped precipitously. But as the world’s largest social media site by far – with more than 1.5 billion daily users – there is not much threat of competition on the horizon.
Other Good Facebook Data Mining, Hacking, Profiling Scandals Links