Facebook is under immense pressure after the data of over 50 million users was leaked to the data firm Cambridge Analytica (CA).
The Observer and The New York Times have revealed that the data of a giant social media had been used to influence the voters in the US presidential election, 2016.
The Observer also demands that they knew about the data breach as far back as late 2015. However, they failed to make the users attentive to secure the personal data.
Critics have uttered concerns that the using of users’ data without their permission is totally illegal. But, keeping so much data on social media is also dangerous. Before preserving personal data to any social media, you should think twice from now onwards.
CA got the private data from a Cambridge researcher, Alexsandr Kogan who created an app called ‘thisisyourdigitallife’ that offered people some extensive personality prediction online. Facebook lets app developers seek permission from the users for developing their app so that the app helps predict amusing life hacks. Through this process, Kogan’s app accessed personal data after getting permission from the users. More than 270,000 people downloaded the app and gave their consent to access their data. The app did not only collect the users’ data but also accessed the data of their contacts. The research says, if one person downloads the app, it gets access to the data of average 160 people more who are connected to the user. Thus it collected the data of over 50 million users.
According to the rule, while Kogan got access to this data, he only had the permission to use it for the development of his app. Rather, he went ahead to sell the data to CA to campaign the Trump electoral campaign.
How was the data collected? Kogan’s app was able to determine your age, race, gender, sexual orientation, childhood trauma, measurement of intelligence, and the political party you like most or like to vote for and even it could predict the susceptibility to substance abuse.
Christopher Wylie, the co-founder and former research lead at CA blew the whistle on its unethical activities. He expressed his concern to The Guardian that the company exploited Facebook to collect millions of peoples’ data without their consent, and built a module to target the same people.
According to The New York Times, the data still available online is beyond the control of Facebook.
However, the data firm denies the entire allegations against them.
Zuckerberg apologized and promised to implement tougher steps to restrict developer’s access to such information, going forward.
The social media giant declared to BBC News: “If this data still exists, it would be a grave violation of Facebook’s policies and an unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments these groups made.”
The unethical harvesting of the data of Facebook users is not new today. It has happened many times until the day. But, most users do not know how their data has been breached and used for unethical purposes.
At first, people should be aware of their activities. Any app that appears with some funny predictions should be avoided. After getting the permission, it collects the entire data of you and your connections. It is better not to access all these apps to keep your social profiles safe and secure.