After more than four days since the leak of 50 million user data from Facebook was revealed to the British consultancy Cambridge Analytica and unleashed a political storm around the lack of privacy of the platform, the head of the social network, Mark Zuckerberg, broke his silence and admitted that mistakes were made that allowed the leak of such data to the British company.
The founder of the world’s largest social network announced today in his profile that the firm will investigate “all applications that accessed large amounts of information” before 2014, when limitations were imposed, and that it will expand its restrictions on developers to avoid “abuse”.
The firm will investigate “all applications that accessed large amounts of information” before 2014
The executive director of Facebook pronounced like this in a text in his profile of the platform after the controversial filtration of data of million users to the British consultant Cambridge Analytica, linked with the electoral campaign of 2016 of the current president of the United States, Donald Trump. The long silence Zuckerberg so far in the growing crisis has only fanned the flames, causing its shares to plummet in recent days.
The security breach of the platform of more than two million users was made through Aleksandr Kogan, the professor who developed the application that Cambridge Analytica used to collect data from Facebook. In this regard, he revealed that in 2014 Facebook made changes to “avoid abusive applications (apps)” like the one created in 2013 by researcher Kogan, which was installed by some 300,000 people but obtained data from “tens of millions of his friends” thanks to the “way the platform worked” then.
This professor of psychology at the English University of Cambridge created the application known as This is your digital life and then his company, Global Science Research (GSR), and Cambridge Analytica paid thousands of users to get tested. of personality and in this way obtain your data for academic use. It is estimated that data was collected from about 270,000 users, but as the application also obtained data from the friends of those users the sum of those affected would reach 50 million, according to calculations of the media that have uncovered the scandal.
According to the changes imposed in 2014, inventions such as Kogan’s “could not ask for information about a person’s friends unless those friends had also authorized the app” and, in addition, the developers were subject to the company’s approval to apply any “sensitive data”
Zuckerberg will expand the data access restrictions for developers: if a user has not used the application in three months
“We will audit completely any application with suspicious activity,” he explained. If a developer refuses to go through a “deep” audit, it will be vetoed, and the same fate will flow if Facebook concludes that it has “abused” personal information, in which case the firm will inform those affected, including users whose data used Kogan.
Facebook allowed for years that developers who created apps linked to the platform had permission to access the data of the participants’ friends even if they had not given their consent to do so. When the social network changed the rules in 2014, restricting access to such information, older developers, such as Kogan, were still able to benefit from friends’ data for a year.
Zuckerberg also announced that it will expand the data access restrictions of developers: if a user has not used the application in three months, that availability will be withdrawn, while at the time of registering in a new one, it will only be necessary to share the name, profile photo, and email.
“We will require developers not only to receive our approval but to sign a contract to ask anyone for access to their ‘posts’ (texts) or other private data,” added the CEO, who anticipated further action in the coming days.
In 2015 Zuckerberg knew that Kogan had shared the data with Cambridge Analytica without consent
On the other hand, Facebook will install in the next month a tool at the top of the “News Feed”, where the news appears, so that users can more easily review their privacy settings and revoke the access permissions of the applications they use. .
Regarding the leak, which is the subject of an investigation by the European, British and American authorities, Zuckerberg explained that in 2015 he learned that Kogan had shared the data with Cambridge Analytica without consent, which was against his policy.
Both parties “certified” that they had eliminated the data they had obtained “inappropriately”, but following the revelations of The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that the consultant “may not have deleted them”, is working with an external firm and the regulators to know the facts.
“I started Facebook and at the end of the day, I am responsible for what happens on the platform. I am serious about doing what is necessary to protect our community, “said Zuckerberg, who admitted that” fixing these problems “will take more time than he would like.
Zuckerberg was summoned on Tuesday to explain to a British parliament committee and to the European Parliament the supposed data leak. The company’s first executive is not “technically” obligated to appear, but it is expected that “public pressure” will lead him to accept the summons. For its part, the US Federal Trade Commission. has opened an investigation to Facebook that could cost the social network a multi-million dollar fine.