What we can learn from the Facebook data breach

 In Cyber Security Articles

Facebook Data Scandal – the story so far

The Facebook data scandal has dominated the headlines. News broke last month that the social media giant harvested personal information about up to 87 million users without permission. This was collected through an app run by data analysts Cambridge Analytica. The data was used to run targeted campaigns to influence the results of the American presidential election and the Brexit campaign.

There is no denying of the power of social media. Research shows that people are increasingly turning to sites like Facebook to get their daily news. This is why there was uproar when that harvested data was used to influence voting. The repercussions of the Facebook data scandal have been huge for the company which has more than a third of the world’s population on its books.

The fallout

Social media was awash with users saying they are abandoning the platform with #DeleteFacebook trending on Twitter. Facebook’s stock market values plummeted by billions of dollars. Facebook ran apologetic adverts across major UK and US newspapers to try and counteract the vicious headlines. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, also faced a grilling from the US senate committee into data handling.

The story just kept snowballing. What we find shocking about this Facebook data scandal are the claims that they knew about the breach for years. The company said they thought they had deleted the data. But, they didn’t carry out a full audit. This is a major slip-up and something other companies handling personal data can learn from. If you know there is something amiss then correct it immediately.

The recovery

Facebook has taken steps to tighten up its data handling practices. Restrictions have tightened up what information apps have access to, including sensitive information such as religious or political views.

Notifications will appear in the news feeds of the accounts which may have been involved in the Facebook data breach. There’s also a tool where you can manually check if your information could have been shared with Cambridge Analytica. This will no doubt be unnerving to see if you do log on to the site. Here’s some steps you can take to safeguard your Facebook data.

  • Read Facebook’s updated terms of service and data use policy. You can then make an educated decision on how to use the social media channel and what to share on it.
  • Clear your search history in one hit by clicking the search box.
  • Look into the settings menu to see what apps you have used and what data may have been shared by doing so.
  • Use the Facebook archive tool to download a copy of all your messages, photos and personal information shared on the platform.
  • If you are still not happy, delete your account – not just deactivate it.

What we can learn from the Facebook data drama

Lessons can be learnt by this Facebook data fallout. All companies should be properly handling the data of the people who trust them with their details. Data protection policies need to be simple, transparent and understandable. This is especially important with GDPR coming into force next month. This will put huge pressure on companies to use, log, manage and handle data.

It is important to ensure that are you compliant with data protection legislation in-house . The same goes for any third party agencies or companies you outsource to and have access to your data. This will ensure that you do not end up a culprit of a media witch hunt, like the Facebook data scandal.

The expert team here at LinkIT can advise you on how to ensure your data protection practices are watertight. Contact us for a free IT health check to see how your business is performing.

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