Mark Zuckerberg announced on Wednesday that Facebook will be changing the way it shares data with third-party applications, according to a story written by Julia Wong of The Guardian.
Roughly 50 million American users had their personal data breached and shared with political consultancies, according to a report by the Observer. Zuckerberg additionally expressed in a Facebook post that this misuse of data was “a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it.” He acknowledged Facebook’s mistakes but reassured its users that the company had already made corrections to some of the rules that enabled the breach.
The scandal, mainly involving a UK third party called Cambridge Analytica, occurred as a result of certain Facebook policies from 2007 to 2014 that allowed third-party applications to obtain personal data about users and their connections. Although Facebook made a major effort to reduce the amount of access to such data in 2014, a Cambridge University researcher ended up extracting the personal data of roughly 50 million people and selling it to Cambridge Analytica.
Zuckerberg has promised to carefully examine the third party applications that had such access and to significantly reduce the amount of data access those applications receive when Facebook users use their profiles to get into these sites. Facebook has additionally promised to notify those whose data was exploited.
Overall, unless Zuckerberg and Facebook honor their assurances of protecting their users’ data and information, they could potentially experience a decrease in the number of people who use Facebook. This scandal, if not handled correctly and efficiently, could negatively affect the business side of this social media app.