Facebook’s trouble came when the New York Times published a story about election consultant, Cambridge Analytica, gaining users’ personal data via Facebook. Cambridge Analytica saw opportunities from a Facebook app, “This is My Digital Life,” to give out personality tests to users. The app, which users downloaded, harvested personal information from the users and their friends. The professor who made the app gave the information to Cambridge Analytica so they could influence users with targeted ads during the presidential election.
So why was Facebook responsible for this privacy breach?
Facebook knew that Cambridge Analytica had gained the data and requested Cambridge Analytica delete it. But in reality, the data was never deleted and Facebook neither followed up nor went public about this incident back in 2015.
The moral of the story is: When we have any sort of privacy breach, small or not, as a business owner it is very important to come clean to your customers, take the necessary actions, AND FOLLOW UP! It’s not an easy thing to admit you made a mistake, but in the long run it’s the only way you can retain your customers’ trust and stay out of hot water.
The other moral of the story is: Be wary of surveys or personality tests or even seemingly innocent quizzes on social media platforms. It’s best to ‘not click on’ or download any new apps or give out any information because you don’t know if the source or app developer can be trusted.