Facebook is losing control of the narrative — and maybe the platform

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The longer you consider the Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal, the stranger it seems. The basic details of the story, in which a researcher provided information incorrectly to the company that became Donald Trump's data operations team in 2016, have been known for two years. The effectiveness of the psychographic guidance of Cambridge Analytica, which tried to influence voters by mapping their likes on Facebook, is very suspicious and probably exaggerated. The surprising number of Facebook profiles that are said to be involved – 50 million – may prove to be overblown marketing for a company that excels in it.
And yet, the revelations of this weekend's stories in The New York Times and The Guardian continue to hit the company. A bipartisan group of US senators UU He turned to CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify about how Cambridge Analytica got so much user information. The British authorities promised to investigate the incident as well. On Monday, the company's shares fell more than 10 percent from the all-time high set on February 1. On Tuesday morning, Bloomberg reported that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the company on the use of personal data.
The misuse of the Cambridge Analytica data may have had little effect in influencing elections here or abroad. But the way in which Cambridge Analytica got its data, and reports that the company clung to the data, despite telling Facebook that it had removed them, have renewed concerns about data privacy in the social network more biggest in the world. After learning that data from the application of an investigator's personality questionnaires had been incorrectly shared with Cambridge Analytica, Facebook took the word that it had erased user profiles: "For me it was the most surprising thing," he said. Former employee Christopher Wylie to The Guardian. . "They waited two years and did absolutely nothing to verify that the data was erased, all they asked me to do was mark a box on a form and publish it again."
Facebook's lack of compliance with bad actors, coupled with the misuse of its large-scale platform, has caused outrage across the globe. And although Cambridge Analytica is among the most prominent examples to date of how Facebook can be misused, it belongs to a long and growing list. Only in March:
Together, these incidents paint an image of a platform in which crises develop faster than their caregivers can address them. A year and a half after the election of Donald Trump generated a cultural recognition in social networks, Facebook has struggled to contain the consequences. A series of measures taken to eliminate terrorist propaganda more quickly, and lessen the spread of false news, have produced some encouraging results. But those steps have done little to stop the daily clattering of articles about the ways in which Facebook is misused around the world, often with disturbing results.
Facebook generally hastened to apologize when faced with misuse of the platform, promising that it will do better in the future. But the company adopted a defensive stance on the Cambridge Analytica stories, saying that the problem was solved years ago. But while the company plays on the defensive, a growing number of lawmakers and regulators around the world promise to investigate the company. This scandal really is different.
The company said on Monday that it had hired a forensic team to investigate the company, with the permission of Cambridge Analytica. But before Facebook could complete its audit, the Office of the UK Information Commissioner ordered them to stop while the office sought an order to conduct its own investigation.
It was a dramatic confrontation in the real world in a case that until now has mainly been developed online. And yet, the confrontation also had an undeniable symbolism: Facebook, when trying to fix its mistakes by itself, was finally restricted by the government. At the start of Tuesday, neither Zuckerberg nor its chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, had made a statement on the Cambridge Analytica disclosures. In the brutal months since the election, Facebook has been quick to apologize. But after an overwhelming March, it seems that its top executives are mute.


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