Facebook Data Breach


Over the last few months the government has found some alarming information regarding data breaching on the social media site Facebook. Currently there are about 2 billion Facebook users, and over 45% of adults in the US say they have been a member of the site at one point. There are many ads that come up in people’s timelines while they are scrolling through their friend’s posts, most of them are quizzes you can take or something of that sort. This may seem innocent and fun, but many of these are using the quizzes to steal information from the people who are using them. Recently a personality quiz app that was created by “Aleksandr Kogan was used by around 300,000 people, and this lead to around 87 million users personal information being stolen. This information involved people’s locations, hometowns, birthdays, phone numbers, and related family members. All of this can be found on a person’s pages by anyone if they did a little digging. But more disturbingly than that is this person has the ability to look at people’s private messages using the Facebook Messenger App. This is used to collect data on people, as in likes and dislikes, interests and most importantly political beliefs.

The creator and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has said in the past that if anything like this was to happen he would “immediately shut it down and inform the people involved.” But he did not, and no one else within the company did either. Kogan sold this data to the Cambridge Analytica, which is a political data consulting firm, for $800,000. This information was used to create a psychological warfare tool of sorts to influence the American people during the Presidential Election of 2016. And that is why on April 12th, Zuckerberg went to Washington to be grilled by Congress. According to Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Facebook’s platform was “weaponized to do damage to our democracy” and that “an American Company has a responsibility to America.”

Apparently, Zuckerberg and other Facebook employees were aware of the data breach in early 2015 but are just beginning to talk about it now, almost 3 years later. When people began to hear about this, they were outraged, and so was the government. They called him to testify in front of congress over the entire issue on April 10, 2018. He sat in a packed room in the Dirksen Senate Building in Washington D.C., testifying for around 5 hours. The Senators grilled him with questions, mostly about the data breach, but also about the tampering with the election, keeping users informed, policing opinions, political ads, and much more. Zuckerberg claims that he and his company are fixing all the problems that are being addressed. There is still much to be done in this case, and the Senate will likely not come to a conclusion for a couple years. This is a very controversial issue, and the first of its kind, so it is unclear what will happen.