Facebook falls after leaking confidential data

Aman Manazir, Business Manager

Facebook is one of the world’s leading companies — or at least it used to be. It now sits at the number eight spot after a major fiasco concerning the data of millions of its users.

Facebook faces major scrutiny after reports came out of a firm called Cambridge Analytica that was linked to Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. According to the reports, the company had data from 50 million Facebook users. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, took five days to respond to these accusations. He stated that Facebook had faced problems concerning its user data before, but he didn’t seem to grasp the scale of this specific incident.

Facebook is one of the most successful tech companies in the world; after a rough patch in 2012, it streamlined to become extremely popular. Facebook’s primary business strategy is to absorb the competition before it poses a significant threat. For example, Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for one billion dollars, and WhatsApp in 2014 for 19 billion dollars.

This most recent upset has many claiming that Facebook went too far. According to the allegations, a British academic had sent out a survey on Facebook, to which 270,000 people responded. Those people had a total of 50 million friends. Cambridge Analytica was able to acquire not only the data for the 270,000 survey respondents, but also their 50 million friends. They utilized this data in both the 2016 presidential election and in Britain’s departure from the European Union. Now, the United States and the United Kingdom are leading significant investigations surrounding Facebook and whether the data was leaked illegally. Cambridge Analytica and the British academic deny any wrongdoings, but Facebook faces severe consequences.

In a public statement given on March 21, Zuckerberg stated that this was “a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it.”

Since this information went public, Facebook’s shares have dropped nine percent. Facebook is now working to rebuild the trust that it lost with its users, but this event will no doubt have major ramifications in the world of privacy and data confidentiality.