By Eden Smith, staff member
Cambridge Analytica, a company hired by President Trump’s 2016 election campaign gained access to an estimated 87 million user’s Facebook accounts to identify personality types of American voters and sway their behaviors. Two large funders of this organization include Robert Mercer and Steve Bannon- a former advisor to the president. The information collected on these fifty million users included their personal identities, friend activity, and likes. Once Facebook realized what was happening, supposedly Zuckerberg (CEO and creator of Facebook) ordered Cambridge to delete it and trusted that they did; but they didn’t.
Facebook claims that Cambridge Analytica violated their terms of service as well as their trust.
Since the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, Facebook has received monstrous amounts of backlash from the people, media, and news. Investors sent the company’s shares down more than eight percent. On Tuesday, April 10th and Wednesday, April 11th, Zuckerberg gave his testimony to congress on Facebook’s dealings with Cambridge Analytica, Russian election interference and his companies horrific loss of privacy. On Russia, Zuckerberg told lawmakers that his company first learned of Russia’s Facebook influence operations “right around the time of the 2016 election itself.”
Throughout the hours that his testimony and congressional questioning lasted, Zuckerberg seemed well composed and well-prepared to answer these questions. He wasn’t defensive in his answers as he tried to reinstate Facebook’s mission to continue investigation and fix the wrongs that have taken place. However, at one point in the questioning, Illinois’ democratic senator Richard J. Durbin asked Zuckerberg if he would mind sharing the name of the hotel he stayed at the previous night or the names of the people he’d messaged this week. Zuckerberg declined as Mr. Durbin said, “I think that’s what this is all about. Your right to privacy. The limits to your right to privacy. And how much you give away in modern America in the name of, quote, connecting people around the world.”
Facebook promises that they are investing in thousands of apps, forensic experts, and any other means of investigation in order to ensure that nothing of this caliber ever happens again. They say that if any “suspicious activity” is found, it will be banned from Facebook and reported to everyone / every user involved in the matter.
By the end of Zuckerberg’s testimonies there were mixed emotions. Many people liked what Zuckerberg had to say and said that after he warmed up to the questions, he was passing with flying colors. Facebook’s stock price raised in light of things. Of course, some senators didn’t appreciate Zuckerberg’s lighthearted sense of humor at times and didn’t feel that he gave enough information- but, as they say: you can’t please everybody.
“So, we have made a lot of mistakes in running the company. I think it’s pretty much impossible, I believe, to start a company in your dorm room and then grow it to the scale that we’re at now without making some mistakes.–Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, April 2018