[Photo by: Facebook]
After a two-day slide in Facebook stocks due to reports of a massive “data leak” at the hands of analytics company Cambridge Analytica, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton is calling for a Facebook boycott with the hashtag #DeleteFacebook. See Acton's tweet down below.
Read more: Facebook makes massive News Feed overhaul
As noted by Variety, Facebook's recent stock slump—which rebounded on Wednesday—was precipitated by the sketchy reveal on Monday that 50 million users' personal data was compromised via a personality test app. And, boy, did we just barely scratch the surface when we first reported the news on Monday; here's where the sketch factor comes into play:
In 2014, a researcher collected upwards of 270,000 Facebook users' data via the app, seemingly for analytical purposes. As pointed out by Motherboard, however, this wasn't exactly a “data breach,” as the analyst was following Facebook's terms of service and API at the time (which have since been altered). What the social media company's app regulations also allowed (at that time) enabled the researcher to gain data from each of those 270,000 users' friends. All told, the analyst amassed 50 million people's raw data, which he then gave to Cambridge Analytica. Sounds legit, right?
And, again, this was no outside attack by hackers—the data was collected within Facebook's guidelines. So what did Cambridge Analytica do with 50 million Facebook users' personal data? Well, they used it in service of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, as reported by The New York Times, targeting political ads and stories at social media denizens based on the harvested information. Yep, this Facebook “breach” keeps looking more and more nasty.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has yet to comment on all this, but on Tuesday, attorney generals in New York and Massachusetts called for an investigation into Facebook's privacy practices, as told by The Hollywood Reporter. “Consumers have a right to know how their information is used,” New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman wrote. “And companies like Facebook have a fundamental responsibility to protect their users' personal information.”
Facebook didn't directly shill 50 million users' data in service of the Trump campaign, but the privacy parameters on the social media service allowed Cambridge Analytica to do just that. No leak, no breach—the info was collected from your friends taking a personality test online. Do you read, and re-read, Facebook's terms of service every time it's updated? Neither did they, and their personal Facebook info was used to spread political ads for partisan purposes.
So, is it time to #DeleteFacebook? Only you can decide if such a wide-ranging privacy violation warrants that measure. But Acton—whose WhatsApp was sold to Facebook for $19 billion in 2014—is apparently deleting his.
It is time. #deletefacebook
— Brian Acton (@brianacton) March 20, 2018