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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Facebook data leak shakes the political world

Por MRod

Facebook was hit on the stock market Monday after uncovering of the data breach scandal and fell more than 7% in the Wall Street session. The collapse is explained by the investors' fear that Facebook will lose users and that more influential countries will pass more stringent policies to protect consumer privacy.

Facebook is plunged into a global political storm due to the data leakage of 50 million US users, allegedly used by the Cambridge Analytica consultant to refine the voting attraction strategies of the Donald Trump campaign in 2016 with psychological profiles. The United States and the United Kingdom, where Facebook is being investigated for its possible role in the campaign in favor of Brexit, have demanded that Mark Zuckerberg provide explanations.

After leaking the scandal over the revelations of The New York Times and The Observer on Saturday, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar has demanded that Zuckerberg, the president of the world's largest social network, testify before the US Senate Judiciary Committee about the exploitation of user data to design "political advertising" and "voter manipulation" tools. It seems things will get tough for the family social network. Adam Schiff, the chief Democratic representative on the Intelligence Committee of Congress, is concerned about which data of the affected citizens got to know the consultant and proposed an in-depth investigation to be opened into the case. On Saturday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced the start of the first formal investigation.

As one might expect, Facebook denies its responsibility. Cambridge Analytica collected in 2014 the abundant information indirectly through a researcher at the University of Cambridge, the Russian-American psychologist Alexandr Kogan, who had received permission from the social network to collect data from its users for academic purposes, but not politics.

Facebook discovered data diversion three years ago, but until last Friday it did not suspend the Cambridge Analytica and Kogan accounts and promised to make sure that the firm did not keep the personal information that it accumulated, such as identities, locations and likes of users. The company, founded in the USA by key figures in the Trump campaign, such as Steve Bannon or patron Robert Mercer, but of British origin, is being investigated in the United Kingdom in the context of the alleged interference of Russian espionage in the Brexit campaign.

A spokesman for the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, said Monday that a government agency has opened an investigation into this scandal leaks for political purposes, with branches intertwined in the United States and the United Kingdom, which he described as "highly worrying." The chairman of the digital affairs committee of the House of Commons, Damian Collins, announced that he will call Zuckerberg and the Cambridge Analytica director, the British Alexander Nix, to testify. "Someone must take responsibility for this. It's time for Zuckerberg to stop hiding behind his Facebook page, "he added.

Was it possible for Facebook to get into something as big as this? No doubt! Can Mark Zuckerberg and his beloved creation survive the investigation? Possibly, but not without marks.