Mar 20, 2018

The Downfall of Facebook? Part xiv ...

By: Polly Yakovich

Digital Media

By now, you've likely heard the news. 

The (failing) New York Times broke the story on Saturday:

"As the upstart voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica prepared to wade into the 2014 American midterm elections, it had a problem.

The firm had secured a $15 million investment from Robert Mercer, the wealthy Republican donor, and wooed his political adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, with the promise of tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior. But it did not have the data to make its new products work.

So the firm harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission, according to former Cambridge employees, associates and documents, making it one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history. The breach allowed the company to exploit the private social media activity of a huge swath of the American electorate, developing techniques that underpinned its work on President Trump’s campaign in 2016."

The Atlantic has a great summary as well. 

Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica's account on Friday, March 16. And now Facebook is under investigation by the FTC.

There are so many questions, concerns, and potential consequences.

Yes, Cambridge Analytica's harvesting and use of the data violated Facebook's policies. But Facebook didn't catch them. Maybe they weren't looking, maybe they didn't notice, maybe something worse. Any of these options is concerning to the thousands of individuals using Facebook and the companies trying to ethically and responsibly market to their customers and prospects using the platform.

So what does this all mean?

We don't know yet.

But we do know that our company policy is more important now than ever. We believe that the transparency of data is sacrosanct. We never hold accounts on behalf of our clients, and make sure all of data and social media accounts are owned by and accessible directly by clients themselves. 

It's not a solution, but it's a start. It's important in this digital age that we all do our part to protect each other, protect our clients and customer data, and act as responsible and trusted caretakers of information.


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