Beginning of gloom? Why Facebook is in huge mess

WION Web Team
Delhi, India Published: Mar 20, 2018, 10:43 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Mark Zuckerberg- led Facebook has been slammed on various occasions in the past for failing to maintain user privacy, but this time social media giant finds itself amid a scandal of much bigger proportion.

The company has come under fire over revelations that UK-based data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica harvested and misused data of 50 million users to help US President Donald Trump win the 2016 election. 

According to reports, US, UK regulators and authorities have initiated a probe into the case; a judgment is likely to be out once the investigation is done. 

Not just this, the controversy underlines grave concerns and consequences for users. The controversy has brought to light the fact that Facebook does collect a large amount of data from its users. 

It must be kept in mind that any data analytics firm can use that data to create personality profiles to determine users’ preferences and behaviour, and change audience behaviour.

Also, Facebook has been failing to handle user data. The company expects users to trust that the data is not misused and is protected with utmost care, but Facebook has been failing to gain that confidence, time and again. Case in point, the access of user data by Cambridge Analytica underscores how easy it is for third-parties to harvest facebook user data.

Facebook talks of tightening control on such practices since it discovered the allegations by Cambridge Analytica in 2015, but the fact of the matter is that it lost control over data and wasn't adequately monitoring third-party activities. And, this is not the first incident; Facebook has been failing to maintain user privacy for a long time.

The trouble for Facebook doesn't end here; there is another side to the company’s problems that will be more evident after the European Union privacy rules come into effect in May.

Complying with the rules would require Facebook to allow the European users to opt out of the highly targeted online advertisements that have made Facebook a money-minting machine. 

Plus, in the wake of any violations, the company could be slapped with up to 4 per cent of its annual revenues.

The company has been facing mounting pressure from lawmakers on both sides on the Atlantic. Is it beginning of gloomy days for facebook? 

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