Facebook is currently in very hot water as data from millions of Facebook users accounts was allegedly used to influence the 2016 US election.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder has admitted in a statement that there has been a "breach of trust" and that he was "really sorry” that the social network "made mistakes" by allowing users data to be exploited for a political consultancy.
In 2014, Cambridge University researcher Dr Aleksandr Kogan created a quiz called “This Is Your Digital life” which collated 270,000 users data to figure out their personality type. Not only did they receive data from the participants who took the quiz, they also were able to obtain some public data from their friends' list.
A former employee claims that the data from this quiz was sold to Cambridge Analytica, a company that has no connection with Cambridge University. They then used the information obtained by psychologically profiling people to deliver pro-Trump material to them.
Since this, Facebook has changed the amount of data developers can gather in this way, but whistle-blower Christopher Wylie says the data of about 50 million people was harvested for Cambridge Analytica before the rules on user consent were tightened up.
Facebook has said that the user’s data was obtained legitimately but Cambridge Analytica failed to delete it when told to do so. However, Cambridge Analytica denies any wrongdoing and says they did delete the data when Facebook asked them to do so.
Consumer watchdog, the US Federal Trade Commission has reportedly opened an investigation into Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg has been called to testify by US senators about how his company will protect its users.