Mark Zuckerberg Admits Mistakes: Congress Roasted Facebook Over Data Breach In Two-Day Congressional Meeting

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Being a founder, CEO and chairman of a company that hooks 2B+ people around the month out of which 1.4B+ people use the services every day; isn’t a story written with pleasure and fame. It’s about the mega giant, Facebook and its flag bearer, Mark Zuckerberg.

Uprooting facts about the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, many public figures like Elon Musk, Jim Carrey, Will Ferell and more flowed in the stream of the infamous, “Delete Facebook” slogan.

The two-day congressional meeting asked over 600 questions about the ecosystem Facebook thrives on and the potential risky elements that seemed to come between laws and human integrity.

The Background On Cambridge Analytica Scandal
The Background On Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge University scholar developed a quiz app called, “thisisyourdigitallife” which collected Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of 300,000 users which ran the program to access information of other connected 87M+ Facebook users. This quiz app was then sold to Cambridge Analytica for $800,000 who supposedly used the data for “educational and research work”.

The controversy struck the ground when The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 busted the possible breach of various accounts in 2015.

Timeline Of Events That Led To Cambridge Analytica Scandal
Timeline Of Events That Led To Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Mark Zuckerberg is a philanthropist and innovator who has always led Facebook with a mission, “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”

In 2010, he allowed the individual app developers to utilize the Open graphs API 1.0 that enabled the developers to collect personal information of the users who install the app. This step was taken to relish the minds of people and add more tools to Facebook.

Only until 2014, Facebook realized to abate the privacy policy in order to maintain the privacy of its users. Upon the breeze of controversies flowing in the media about significant Data breach occurring at major social media networks, Cambridge Analytica confirmed to delete all the information gathered by the app.

Since then Cambridge Analytica has been suspected to play a major role in influencing biased results of world politics that includes Indian Elections, Donald Trump Campaign, Brexit Referendum and Russian connections.

Major Accusations Put Up By Senators & Mark Zuckerberg’s Consummate Come Back
Major Accusations Put Up By Senators & Mark Zuckerberg’s Consummate Come Back
Accusation 1: After the knowledge about the scandal, what were the steps taken by Facebook in order to keep the sanctity of 2 billion people in order?

Response: Banning of Kogan’s app followed by legal notice and demand of certification was done as an immediate step to stop the further exploitation of users. Mark Zuckerberg said he trusted the words of Cambridge Analytica that whatever derivative data they received was completely wiped out of the system in 2015.

Accusation 2: Facebook didn’t do enough to ensure the Data of people which was stolen had been deleted. Was it ascertained that other IT companies didn’t retrieved that data?

Response: Mark Zuckerberg accepted in front of the 44-member committee that the biggest mistake that he did after the inception of the Facebook was, “We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility” which was followed by his sincere apology, “And I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here.”

He further added that after the incident, he realized that it is not enough to strengthen the connections. As a big community and a platform for varied voices, culture, background and people, the challenge is to direct the community in a positive direction. He is sure to lead full-fledged investigation to ban similar deceit apps.

Accusation 3: Does Facebook give attention to Audits?

Response: Facebook has gone through audits and stock check very often. They’ve also banned apps which have a chunk of information about their users. Apart from regular checkups, the team is inclined to go through a full investigation of all the apps that are being utilized on Facebook platform. Under the radar are those which have access to the information pre-2014 when Privacy Policy witnessed the major change.

Accusation 4: How cordially the ‘Terms of Service” and “Privacy Policy” are quoted on the website?

Response: The truth is there’s a very small fraction of people who care about the privacy document. To prevent this situation where people ignore reading the policies, Facebook officials keep it precise but well explained.

Accusation 5: What’s the role of information gathered from FB users in Russian Internet Research Agency?

Response: Mark Zuckerberg and his advisers are not yet sure about the role of the information gathered by Aleksnadr Kogan has to play with Russian IRA. However, a full audit will help them to find the loophole. As of now, the surety is inflicted. Also, UK government has taken the lead for the investigation.

Accusation 6: How is Facebook monitoring and banning negative content to avoid it getting viral instantly on its platform?

Response: Started out of dorm rooms, when people used to flag the content they found illicit, Mark Zuckerberg and his team used to delete the content after self-review. However, fast track the progress of technology and journey of Facebook to 15 years, Artificial Intelligence is the biggest identifier of content related to terrorist activities, hate speeches, politically stirring news and other rebellious content which is then banned. The founder agrees that it’s not enough to depend on AI for putting every negative content out of the stream due to its linguistic limitations but his plans to proactively hire 20,000 professionals and experts around the world by the end of the year who could very well understand the linguistic war and delete the content before it goes viral.

Accusation 7: Does Facebook have Political preferences?

Response: As an open platform, the company has in and out integration of its business model which supports every person and campaign at the same level. Despite having a team of 15,000-20,000 currently working as content reviewers in the company, there’s no firing based on politic fascination. Hence, clearly indicating that this company doesn’t biasedly support any sort of political campaign, foreign inclusion or electoral candidate’s preferences.

These radical responses suggest that Mark Zuckerberg intends to do everything that would maintain the drive of nation and other countries to harness goodness and refrain hate speech and negative content. He even actively supported the bipartisan bill of Honest Ads Act that says online campaign advertisement will be governed under regulations which will be democratically affirmative. This would somehow double check that, the case like Russian buying political ads during 2016 presidential elections won’t be imitated in future.

Apart from the existing policies, Mark Zuckerberg has introduced immediate plan on his Facebook page that says:

  • Developers’ will have restricted rights over users’ data. Only the essential information like Name, Email Address and Profile Picture can be asked. Also, developers’ will lose the right to access information if the user hasn’t used the app from 3 months or more.
  • An icon on top of the News Feed section will be introduced to display all the apps that you’ve given the permission for access which you can revoke any moment.

However, if people are uncertain about their protection and privacy, Facebook is full-fledged with tools and settings which would safeguard their data.

Look at these ways to protect your Facebook account from intruders:

protect your Facebook account from intruders
1. PERSONALIZE YOUR FRIEND REQUEST

Numbers might seem fancy but if your privacy is the utmost concern, make sure you don’t have unknowns and strangers in your friends’ list. The more it is personalized to direct contacts, better it gets for you to prevent your data out in the world.

2. GET FAMILIARIZED WITH SETTINGS & APP PERMISSION

The option of revoking the permission from any app is still active in every profile however; it is in the Setting’s section. Go through all the apps and use your conscience to judge which could be a sketchy app in the list.

3. SHARE YOUR CONTENT WITH PRIVACY SETTINGS

You’ve got option to customize the list of people you would like to share the content with. Take control over your privacy and don’t let foreign agency sneak into your account.

4. DISABLE API SHARING

Remember the last time you logged into other website like shopping site, food portal or others, using your Facebook account so you don’t have to create another account? Well, that’s what we are talking about. All your information floods into the specific website’s database. To review it, go to Settings and click under ‘Apps’ section. Another ‘Apps’ section would show you ‘Website and Plugins’. Click ‘Edit’ and ‘Disable’ it.

5. MIND YOUR WORDS

You don’t want to be a piece of open book unless that’s what you want. Facebook is a great community to connect with people however, keep your confidential information away from hackers and seekers. Lie if you feel like but don’t run over your security zone.

When a 19 y.o. developed the century’s best innovation in terms of online communication, he had no clue where it’s going to end up. Controversies have always engulfed and tried to bring down Facebook but the will power and determination of its founder and his team have kept it alive and going stronger even today. If you’re super skeptical or supporter of Facebook, the upcoming events in this domain shall keep you indulged. Meanwhile, stay tuned.

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