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Facebook Data Breach Affects Millions of Users Around the World

Almost everyone has, or has heard of, Facebook, the widely popular social
media site developed in 2004. In fact, it is the most popular social media site in the U.S. Instagram, also owned by Facebook, Inc., follows closely in popularity ratings.
However, the popular social media site has been facing some major legal issues lately,
and many people are beginning to turn away from it.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has been caught in the middle of
a controversy in which 50 million users had their data transferred to Cambridge
Analytica, a political analytics firm. This has caused widespread anger over how
Facebook allows outsiders to use its data.

Aleksandr Kogan, psychology professor at Cambridge University, obtained the
information in question within Facebook’s legal boundaries. It was only when he shared
the information with Cambridge Analytica that he violated Facebook’s boundaries, as
stated by the Wall Street Journal.

Kogan created a personality-quiz app for Facebook, which was downloaded
around 270,000 times in 2013. At that time, Facebook’s policies allowed for app
developers to obtain the personal information of all of the users and their friends. Kogan
shared the information with Cambridge Analytica, leading to the breach of 50 million
people’s data.

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Facebook, the most popular social media site in the U.S., faces scandal over the sharing of users’ personal information to political analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica. Photo courtesy of joemiller.us.

Mark Zuckerberg responded to the outcries by saying that the company will
investigate any possible personal data breaches by the app developers. They will also
examine apps that are used by about 100,000 people, and then work their way to the
other smaller apps. Facebook expects to be investigating tens of thousands of apps in
this process. After the controversy went public, Facebook’s stock fell 10 percent, which is
equivalent to $50 billion los

Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive of Facebook, tells the New York Times, “One
of our biggest responsibilities is to protect data….Whenever there’s an issue where someone’s data gets passed to someone who the rules of the system shouldn’t have allowed it to, that’s rightfully a big issue and deserves to be a big uproar.”

Zuckerberg faced inquiry by the Senate and was willing to accept regulations to
protect users’ personal information. According to the Wall Street Journal, House
Commerce Chairman Greg Walden comments that the situation is a “wake-up call” for
the technology companies in Silicon Valley. He says that they have been lacking in strict
regulations.

During the inquiry, Zuckerberg stated, “It’s not enough to just connect people, we
have to make sure those connections are positive.” By all means, he intends to restore
those positive connections, and the over one billion active Facebook users hope he
does.

By: Katherine Conway’21, Staff Writer

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