Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have been under fire many times since Facebook’s launch in 2004. Much like the baby boomers’ concerns with internet security, Facebook users questioning their privacy on the platform. On March 16, it was revealed by the New York Times and the London Observer that Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm, gained access to private data. The data was allegedly used to target potential swing voters in political campaigns, including Brexit and Donald Trump’s 2016 election.
Cambridge Analytica reportedly used the data of 87 million users, potentially even after Facebook asked them to delete the information. The news of misconduct was delivered with the help of Cambridge Analytica’s cofounder Christopher Wylie. Both the US and the UK have taken action, with the Federal Trade Commission investigating Facebook’s privacy practices and UK authorities raiding Cambridge Analytica’s London offices.
Wylie and other whistleblower, Shahmir Sanni, testified before the UK parliament regarding pro-Brexit campaigner’s involvement with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Zuckerberg took about a week to speak publicly about the scandal, while Facebook denied that they had done any wrongdoing. The fact is that Facebook failed to inform its users of the security breach, causing a growing amount of distrust in the platform.
Congress asked Zuckerberg to testify on the event. Zuckerberg has since spoken, stating that he will testify “if it’s the right thing to do.” He also apologized, saying that he “hired the wrong people” and “trusted the wrong people.”
The scandal has affected Facebook’s stock price, although investors have reportedly seen a decrease in value for the past few months. On March 14, Facebook stock was valued at 184.19 USD. It reached a low of 152.22 USD on March 27, but has since began to crawl back, reaching 155.10 USD on April 4. Despite the proportionally low value of the company’s stock, the fact that it is slowly increasing again is a testament to the social media giant’s clout.
Many have deleted their Facebook accounts, unlinked Facebook from other social media accounts and tweeted #DeleteFacebook, trending the hashtag quickly.
Now, all we have to do is wait to see what unfolds in the legal battles that have ensued since the scandal and how Facebook will be affected.