My opinion: Facebook and the 2015 Cambridge Analytica data breach
It has been a few years already since it happened, as it happened in 2015, and only now it’s reported, the scam that lead to British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to receive data of reportedly 50 million Facebook users.
Most interesting actually about this so-called breach is that it technically is not a breach to begin with, but rather an intriguing way of how Cambridge Analytica has abused Facebook’s mechanics to receive a lot of data.
As what happened is simple, an app called “thisisyourdigitallife” was created and shared, about 270 thousand people used it, and through the friend network access the application had Cambridge Analytica started a data mining operation. Meaning, basically those 270 thousand people screwed over a combined total of 50 million friends.
That being said, the majority of the data could also have been gained in a more difficult way, which is by simply visiting the majority of those 50 million people’s pages.
As the reality is, unless you have set your information to any of the non-public options, all of the information Cambridge Analytica stole was easily accessible already.
The only part which they didn’t have access to were those who were smart enough to set that information to any of the other possibilities than public, and those who are honest about being below the age of majority.
Just try checking my Facebook page without logging in, it will show that it doesn’t exist, which has to do with the fact that I honestly said my birthday to Facebook.
Yet, the last part is actually what is far more important in this whole discussion to begin with, what do we share to begin with.
As let’s take a moment to realize that even if the breach had not happened, the problem still would have been that you shared too much personal information on Facebook, meaning you might want to ask who the true problem is to begin with.
Also, Facebook shouldn’t be regarded as reponsible party at all, as there are hundreds of other ways this could have happened, and most lead to the point I made before, the fact that you shared the information.
When it comes to this whole problem, there is something far more notable, which is the fact that Facebook is not the first, and most certainly will not be the last one who experiences such controversy about your information being leaked.
After all, the most major company on the internet tracks you literally everywhere, to the point that the cookies this company creates are designated as malware by security software companies.
As at the moment you watch an advertisement online, among a lot of other ways, a cookie is created, more specifically by a company called “Doubleclick”, which you likely have heard about already if you used your security software on your computer or mobile device correctly.
Doubleclick, a company owned by Google, even shown by their website name of “doubleclickbygoogle”, it couldn’t be easier to notice.
Google tracks you everywhere and if you don’t delete those tracking cookies continuously, they have access to everything you share online, including the information on your social media profile.
Meaning, the information that has been gained by Cambridge Analytica most probably has been in the hands of Google for years already, yet they are not the one who face the controversy.
However, beyond the reasons of Facebook not being responsible, there are a lot of other reasons why it is useless to delete your Facebook account right now.
The first being the obvious, because the information has been gained already, meaning it is a little too late.
Yet, more important than anything else, switching to another social media platform only makes it more likely for you to experience it again.
After all, Facebook should know by now the stupidity of having let this happen, meaning it is very likely they will be doing everything to prevent this from ever happening again, which is unlikely to be offered by a social media platform that didn’t face this.
It’s a bit like when you bought the most delicious sandwich of a shop for a long time, yet suddenly they change the recipe of that sandwich and you no longer like it… What would be more obvious to do, move away from that shop that used to make the most delicious sandwich, or stating to that shop that you dislike their recipe change and ask to change back to their previous recipe?
Obviously the answer is the latter, which also is an importance when it comes to Facebook. We could all move away from Facebook right now, but that wouldn’t solve the problem, it would only cause us difficulties as we need to find a replacement that quite probably won’t work as well as Facebook, as we have become used to using Facebook.
Instead, the best move would be to make Facebook aware, mass request them to prevent this from ever happening again, and moving on from this controversy.
Apart of that, it is not Facebook who stole your information, it was Cambridge Analytica.
When a shop owner got robbed, it is not the shop owner who should get blamed, but it is the thief.
Dare to do that, make Cambridge Analytica face the consequences for stealing our information!