Security

Facebook Under Fire: Even Whatsapp Founder Says #deletefacebook

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Hashtag of the year? #deletefacebook, for sure! Believe it or not, Whatsapp creator Brian Acton has just joined the bandwagon against the biggest social media platform in the world.

Users are grabbing their pitchforks and abandoning Facebook in troves after troubling revelations on how their personal information was used came to surface.

Facebook allowed controversial data analytics company Cambridge Analytica to collect personal data from more than 50 million users. Cambridge Analytica then went on to shape the outcomes of both the US and the UK elections.

The troubling case was brought to light by none other than Christopher Wylie, a 28-year-old data scientist who built Cambridge Analytica from the ground up. According to the whistleblower, Cambridge lecturer Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz designed to go viral. Through it, he gained access to responders’ profiles, including information regarding their friends, effectively mining the data of 270,000 Facebook users! Cambridge Analytica then created highly detailed profiles of millions of people and used Facebook Ads to target voters and spread dissension.

© Lily Martin/CBC

According to Wylie, Facebook ordered Cambridge Analytica to destroy that data back in 2015. Facebook was also aware of the fact that the company didn’t comply to their demands and that the info was used to sway elections, but it never informed the public or the shareholders about the incident. Christopher Wylie was immediately banned from both Facebook and Instagram.

Fortunately for us, Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive Alexander Nix was caught on camera admitting to using bribes. That footage ultimately reached UK’s Channel 4 team , exposing the whole scheme.

What happens now?

The UK Parliamentary Committee sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, requesting his presence for a full disclosure regarding the ways Facebook and its affiliates acquire user data. In just two days, the company’s shares dropped by almost 7%, lowering its value by almost $43 billion.

Reuters also reported that Alex Stamos, the chief information security officer for Facebook, will leave the company in August. Why? Internal conflicts on how the social media platform spreads disinformation.

How did fellow tech leaders react? Well, if even Acton, one of the people who sold Whatsapp to Facebook for $19 billion, is camp #deletefacebook, things are getting really intense.

Perhaps the time has come to pay a closer look at how we interact via social media and the various ways these platforms use our data.  The first step could be revising the privacy settings of all your Facebook apps (if you don’t want to go off-the-social-media-grid). Go here to do it. 

You want to know just how much Facebook knows about you and how it could leverage that info? We explained here how to obtain your own “data selfie” and see how the social media giant interprets your information.

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