Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has finally broken his silence on Cambridge Analytica scandal and his company is in damage-control mode. After the #deletefacebook campaign gained momentum and various government authorities decided to start looking into the matter, the chief executive made the first statements on his Facebook page. Later, he went on an interview rampage, repeating the same lines and trying to woo some new, polished statements.
As the whole scandal revolves around Facebook’s careless data sharing policies with third-party advertisers and developers, this subject was bound to make an appearance in his statements.
In his Facebook post, after telling how much he cares for everybody and how much serious Facebook is about what’s happening, he listed some steps the company plans to take to ensure such incidents don’t happen in future. In a separate post, Facebook has detailed those steps and promised to set a higher standard for developers.
Let’s take a look at these Facebook changes:
1. Facebook promises to look into all the applications that had access toa large amount of data. This will affect those apps who had access before 2014, when the company changed its policies. In case something fishy is found, Facebook plans to conduct a complete audit and ban developers from using the platform.
2. In Facebook privacy settings, you can see tons of apps that have access to your data. In future, the company plans to revoke the access if you haven’t used that app within last 3 months.
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3. The Cambridge Analytica scandal started with an app named “thisisyourdigitallife” and went on to affect as much as 50 million people. Facebook plans to notify all the affected people regarding misuse of their data. This will also cover other applications.
4. Just like Google, Facebook introduced Facebook Login to simplify login process as well as get access to some basic user data. After this debacle, the company plans to restrict the shared data to just name, email, and profile photo. In case the developer needs more data access, Facebook’s approval will be mandatory.
“We’ll require developers to not only get approval but also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data,” Zuckerberg added in his statement.
5. As said above, in settings you can see which apps are using your data. With an upcoming change, the company plans to make this option more prominent with a tool at the top of your News Feed. It’ll be an easier way to revoke app permissions.
6. The company also plans to expand its bug bounty program to attract more security researchers and enhance the overall security of the platform.
These were the steps announced by Facebook as a part of its exercise to gain user trust. But, the company failed to tell why more actions weren’t taken to enforce basic data sharing rules in the first place.
It also failed to tell if the company would take steps to ensure that Cambridge Analytica didn’t get user data from apps other than thisisyourdigitallife, or why did the company try to suppress the related stories in the first place.
There are other questions as well. I know that you might be having your own set of reservations. Let us know in the comments section below if the above-mentioned steps are enough and what more needs to be done.