Cambridge Analytica scandal that erupted over the weekend has
snowballed into the biggest threat to CEO and founder Mark
Zuckerberg's rule since the company's 2012 IPO.
noted earlier, the
manner in which Cambridge Analytica allegedly leveraged the data it
purportedly "stole" from Facebook (or rather, refused to
delete after receiving it from an intermediary who himself had
improperly accessed it, according to the company) isn't all that
unusual. Case in point, Carol Davidsen, Obama's director of
integration and media analytics during his 2012 campaign, revealed
that Facebook knowingly helped the Obama campaign collect as much
user data as possible - even from the friends of users who may not
have explicitly consented to the data collection.
Facebook found out about the data mining for political purposes - the
same thing they just banned Cambridge Analytica for doing - they
"didn't stop us," the Obama staffer said. Representatives
from Facebook even traveled to Obama campaign headquarters and
candidly told campaign workers, including Davidsen, that
they were allowing the Obama campaign do things they wouldn't have
allowed other developers to do.
forward nearly six years and Facebook Security Chief Alex Stamos is
planning to leave the company in August after clashing with
executives over their refusal to prioritize policing how user data is
accessed and manipulated over ever-expanding advertising profits.
now, another former Facebook employee has come forward to reveal
that, before the company started tightening its data security
practices after its IPO, the type of "unauthorized" access
that Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica for was routinely carried
out by app developers. The reason? Facebook's advertising business
can increase profits by offering more data to advertisers and
developers. And the more successful games like FarmVille and Candy
Crush become, the more money Facebook - which takes a piece of
developers' profits - stands to make.
these factors created a powerful incentive to look the other way.
what kind of control Facebook had over the data given to outside
developers, he replied:
Absolutely none. Once the data left Facebook servers there was not
any control, and there was no insight into what was going on."
employee, Sandy Parakilas, first accused Facebook of prioritizing
data mining of consumer safety in a New
York Times op-ed
published in November, when the scandal surrounding a "Russian
troll farm's" alleged purchases of Facebook ads and promoted
posts was still in full swing.
the company insists that it has strengthened its oversight in the
years since Parakilas's departure, the degree of negligence described
by Parakilas is staggering nonetheless. If he had to guess, Parakilas
would say that, in reality, the majority of Facebook users have
probably had their data improperly sold or shared.
said he "always
assumed there was something of a black market" for
Facebook data that had been passed to external developers. However,
he said that when he told other executives the company should
proactively "audit developers directly and see what’s going on
with the data" he was discouraged from the approach.
said one Facebook executive advised him against looking too deeply at
how the data was being used, warning him:"Do
you really want to see what you’ll find?" Parakilas
said he interpreted the comment to mean that "Facebook was in a
stronger legal position if it didn’t know about the abuse that was
added: "They felt that it was better not to know. I found that
utterly shocking and horrifying."
developer feature that allowed a UK-based psychology professor to
access data from 50 million Facebook users is called "Friends
feature was a boon to outside software developers who, from 2007
onwards, were allowed to build quizzes and games that were hosted on
the platform. Parakilas says the company could've easily disabled
this feature - which helped developers sneakily hoover up the data of
friends of assenting users - but it chose not to.
apps proliferated on Facebook in the years leading up to the
company’s 2012 initial public offering, an era when most users were
still accessing the platform via laptops and computers rather than
took a 30% cut of payments made through apps, but
in return enabled their creators to have access to Facebook user
does not know how many companies sought Friends Permission data
before such access was terminated around mid-2014. However,
he said he believes tens or maybe even hundreds of thousands of
developers may have done so.
estimates that "a majority of Facebook users" could
have had their data harvested by app developers without their
knowledge. The company now has stricter protocols around the degree
of access third parties have to data.
any attempts at reconciliation or reform might be too little, too
late: Lawmakers are demanding a scalp - somebody to blame for
President Trump's improbable electoral triumph over the "eminently
qualified" Hilary Clinton.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos walks his new dog and remains head and shoulders
above everyone else in the world in terms of net worth, Facebook's
is sliding down the ranks to a lowly 5th on the world's richest
the carnage in Facebook's shares, CEO Zuckerberg lost $5 billion
yesterday and another $4 billion today (and is down around $14
billion from his highs)...
knocked him back below Amancio Ortega into just 5th place on the
"world's richest" list...
after today's bloodbath, Zuck may end up in 6th place... or even 7th
Bezos (and his new pet dog) remain uber alles...
of those Facebook shares FB, -2.56% before
Tuesday ended up saving about $70 million, according to Securities
and Exchange Commission filings and some arithmetic by MarketWatch.
At Tuesday’s close, the 5.4 million shares Zuckerberg has sold this
year under a predetermined plan would be worth $910 million.
Zuckerberg made about $980 million selling those shares, according to
calculations using average weighted prices reported to the Securities
and Exchange Commission.
spokeswoman Vanessa Chan said in an email that the stock sales are
intended to fund the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic
investment organization the Facebook
founder set up with his wife in 2015.
In an SEC filing in September, Zuckerberg said that he plans to sell
at least $6 billion in Facebook stock over the next 18 months to fund
the organization’s efforts.
year, Facebook abandoned its plan to create a new class of nonvoting
shares that was concocted to allow Zuckerberg
to retain voting control of the company.Zuckerberg
said at the time that the stock’s gains over the past couple of
years would allow him to retain control of the enterprise and still
sell enough stock to fund his philanthropy without the new stock
the past year and a half, Facebook’s business has performed well
and the value of our stock has grown to the point that I can fully
fund our philanthropy and retain voting control of Facebook for 20
years or more,” Zuckerberg wrote at the time. “As a result, I’ve
asked our board to withdraw the proposal to reclassify our stock —
and the board has agreed"
key parts of Facebook’s model come into play: gathering data from
people in order to profile them, designing systems that allow that
data to be used to target people, then allowing third parties to use
the data and those targeting systems for their own purposes
Cambridge Analytica 'Utterly Sleazy'
the Real News
Channel 4 details the dirty tricks that Cambridge Analytica, the
data-mining company owned by billionaire Robert Mercer, uses to sway
elections around the world. If the story is true, it would mean the
company is not only sleazy, but also blatantly criminal, says
white-collar criminologist Bill Black