It's been a bit of a crazy week for social networking firm Facebook. On Friday, the company announced that data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica was being suspended from Facebook, for misusing user data and violating the company's policies. Today, Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg both issued statements on the matter.
Zuckerberg recapped the series of events that led to where we are now, and also noted Facebook's plans for future action. It started in 2013, with a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan creating a personality quiz app that was used by about 300,000 people. However, with the way that Facebook login worked at the time, not only was the user's data shared with the app, but all of their friends' data was shared as well. This changed in 2014, when friends' data was no longer shared, and developers had to ask Facebook for permission to request sensitive data.
But in 2015, Facebook learned that Kogan had shared the data he received through his app with Cambridge Analytica. Kogan's app was banned from the platform, and Cambridge Analytica promised that it deleted all of the data that was received. Last week, Facebook learned that this might not have been true, so it banned Cambridge Analytica, and that's where this whole rollercoaster started.
Zuckerberg outlined a three-pronged approach, saying that Facebook has "a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you." First of all, the company will perform thorough audits of any developers that had access to data before the change was made in 2014. Any developer that does not agree to the audit will be banned from the platform.
Secondly, developer access to data will be restricted beyond the changes that were made four years ago. It will be limited to their name, profile photo, and email address, and developers will have to sign a contract to ask for anything more than that. Also, if you don't use the app for three months, the developer's access to your data will be revoked.
Finally, Zuckerberg says that Facebook will be implementing a tool that you'll see at the top of your news feed to show you all of the apps that have access to your data. This is something that already exists, but now it will be more prominent.
The CEO of the social networking giant says that these are the steps that it will take going forward, and that the company is serious about protecting its users' privacy.
What do you think of the steps that Facebook is taking? Is it enough? Let us know in the comments.
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