Mobile Internet

Facebook and data breaches, a never-ending tale of scandals

Social Media written with the help of scrabble chips

Facebook has been fighting privacy breaches for a good couple of years now. The amount of data it has on offer is unimaginable. There are attackers who seek this information for their own good and then there is Facebook who leaks this information for the same. The American social media giant has landed in trouble a lot of times for this.

The most recent was the scandal that made Mark Zuckerberg sweat. He was asked to sit in front of the lawmakers and answer some silly but important questions. Cambridge Analytica, a British consultancy firm, which worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign got the personal data of Facebook users which were used to win the campaign.

Reports also revealed that Facebook was used by some of the Russian entities to manipulate the minds and support Donald Trump. This report has caused a lot of noise and the lawmakers came in hard for Zuckerberg and his company. After this scandal, Facebook has managed to find a different problem of the same kind. There were strong voices about Facebook letting giants like Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and 150 other companies access the private information of the users.

This included their friend lists, private messages and also intimate data about their friends. The New York Times revealed this stunning news. This report was, however, scrutinized by the Head Developer of Facebook, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis. He said that the companies are ‘integration partners’. This enables people to see recommendations of other people and enhances the ‘Social Experiences’.

The Head Developer also went on to say in his blog that this information is given with the permission of the users. Ime Archibong, Vice President of Product Partnerships at Facebook, wrote in another blog post by the company that the disclosure of the private messages is also with user consent. The blog revealed that the messaging app partnered with four other companies to help them and the messages could only be read if one logged in with Facebook.

A day after this fiasco, Facebook is now accused of gathering information from different dating applications like Tinder and Grindr. A German mobile security company, Mobilsicher revealed that Facebook gathers data from dating, health, religious, and other applications. Tinder, Grindr, forDiabetes, Moodpath, Migraine Buddy, Pregnancy+ and some religious applications such as Bible+ Audio, Muslim Pro are some of the applications which Facebook tampers with.

The data gathered can be very intimate through these applications as one can know about users’ sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political views and about health conditions as well. This is happening actively with SDK (Software Development Kit). Facebook developers provide this kit to apps. This kit provides insights about user information and also how users engage. All of this is provided with the help of Facebook Analytics. This SDK, in return, brings invaluable user information to Facebook. This information is then used to personalize your Facebook which can improve the user experience.

That said, this information is sensitive and should be encrypted but it is not. Even if you haven’t logged in from your Facebook, the information travels and this has created a lot of problems for the American company. These kind of problems are appearing more often than not. Facebook has already answered the lawmakers and this can cause a lot of trouble for Mark Zuckerberg. It will be interesting to see what Facebook has to say about this as this data breach is without the consent of the users.

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