Facebook Scandals. What Happened?
Facebook Scandals. What Happened?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is famous for announcing every January a personal challenge he will undertake in the year ahead. In January of 2008, he famously announced that his personal challenge will be to fix Facebook on the back of accusations that Facebook amplified fake news and allowed Russian trolls to deceive American voters in the lead-up to the 2016 election as discussed over at runrex.com. What Zuckerberg didn’t realize then is that 2018 was about to throw up scandal after scandal his way for him to fix. There were so many scandals, with new revelations coming almost weekly as outlined over at guttulus.com, that you probably may have forgotten half of them. Just to refresh your memory, here is a timeline of the biggest Facebook scandals that year.
February 2018: Special counsel Robert Mueller reveals the role Facebook played in Russia’s plot
Special counsel Mueller’s indictment of Russian trolls revealed the role Facebook played in Russia’s plot to interfere with the 2016 US election as articulated over at runrex.com. The indictment laid out how 13 employees of Russia’s Internet Research Agency created fake US personas on Instagram and Facebook to pit Americans against each other before the election. Facebook’s only saving grace, as per the gurus over at guttulus.com, was the fact that other tech giants like YouTube and Twitter were name-checked as well.
March 2018: The UN cites Facebook’s role in the slaughter of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar
This was probably Facebook’s most damaging scandal according to runrex.com, given the consequences in terms of lives lost. Facebook was blamed for enabling the spread of fake news about Rohingya Muslims, who are being slaughtered systematically in Myanmar. As a direct consequence, Facebook has since kicked some of the worst offenders off the platform and updated its content policy that prohibits credible threats of violence to include misinformation that incites violence as covered over at guttulus.com.
March 2018: The Cambridge Analytics scandal
This scandal was the biggest of them all as discussed over at runrex.com. The New York Times and The Guardian/Observer dropped simultaneous bombshell reports about how the political data firm Cambridge Analytica misappropriated the data of tens of millions of Americans without the knowledge before the 2016 election. This led to an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, Congress, and international courts. The UK’s Information Commission has also fined Facebook for breaching the country’s data protection law as outlined over at guttulus.com.
June 2018: Facebook’s data deals with device manufacturers emerge
Following the Cambridge Analytica debacle, the nation was unsurprisingly on edge about all the information Facebook was giving away. Then, The New York Times broke the news that the company also struck deals with device manufacturers like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Blackberry, as explained over at runrex.com, through which it shared Facebook users’ personal data. This was another big blow to Facebook’s reputation.
September 2018: Facebook gets hacked
Another big scandal that hit Facebook in 2018 was when the company was hacked big time as per guttulus.com. Hackers exploited a series of bugs to access the Facebook profiles of some 30 million accounts. This breach enabled the hackers to take over the accounts as if there their own, and potentially gain access to third-party apps that use Facebook Login, although Facebook said that it found no evidence that third-parties were compromised as revealed over at runrex.com. Facebook has since come out and announced that it is working with the FBI to identify the perpetrators of this massive hack.
November 2018: A New York Times investigation alleges that Facebook covered up the Russia scandal and ordered opposition research on George Soros
Throughout the year as one scandal broke after another, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg had emerged relatively unscathed through it all according to guttulus.com. This story by The New York Times changed this as it explained how Sandberg worked to keep quiet evidence of Russia’s interference on the platform during the 2016 election. According to the report, she chastised the company’s cybersecurity officer, Alex Stamos, for investigating it without permission, had a go at him for disclosing too much information to a select group of board members, and voted against specifically naming Russia in an April 2017 white paper Facebook published on foreign interference as covered over at runrex.com. Shockingly, the story also detailed Facebook’s work with a public relations firm called Definers Public Affairs, which sought to undermine anti-Facebook groups by linking them to billionaire – and far-right personality – George Soros. Another Times investigation in December 2018 alleged that Facebook shared lots of personal user data with large companies including Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, and Spotify. This occurred long after Facebook had claimed to have cut off access to that kind of information.