From Analytica to Spreading Hate Speech – Can Facebook Survive All The Scandals?

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Facebook’s half a trillion-dollar profit machine which is primarily dependent on first-party data, will come under scrutiny on May 25 under the new General Data Privacy Regulations (GDPR)! With new strict policies for data control, consent, erasure and portability, average revenue per user and earnings are expected to drop significantly for Facebook (FB).

Facebook’s current methods for collecting and leveraging data will definitely need to be revised under the new GDPR, but why is Facebook in such deep trouble? Facebook is currently desperately trying to mend its damaged reputation on a number of different fronts, most of them stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal:

Cambridge Analytica
Alongside London-based elections consultancy Cambridge Analytica, the social media giant was accused of harvesting and abusing its users’ personal data. It is estimated that Facebook exposed the data of 87 million users without direct consent. The allegations have heightened concerns over whether such data was then used to try and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the Brexit vote!

Politicians in Washington were quick to demand that Zuckerberg testify in front of Congress. After an ominous period of silence, Zuckerberg testified on April 11 at Capitol Hill, spending hours evading questions from Congress about privacy, Russia, algorithms, and more. Zuckerberg deferred most of the questions, responding instead that his “team” would “follow up.”

Retaining Deleted Videos
One of Facebook’s responses to the Cambridge Analytica incident was to allow users to download their data archive on the social network, when users discovered that videos recorded on the platform they thought they had deleted were still present in Facebook’s archive, a huge outcry was created. Facebook in turn apologized and called this strange personal video retention an unintentional “bug.”  

Zuckerberg’s Messages
Supposedly, Facebook users can’t delete messages from someone’s inbox, but it appears that Zuckerberg can, according to a recent TechCrunch report! The site reviewed old messages sent between sources and Zuckerberg and, strangely, Zuckerberg’s messages were nowhere to be found, despite their responses still being viewable. Facebook was quick to tell the outlet it was a corporate security measure. On Friday, Facebook also stated that it would create an “unsend” feature within the next few months, and that Zuckerberg would be barred from using the feature until it was available to everyone.

Spreading Hate Speech in Myanmar?
Zuckerberg came under fire in mid-April after he told Vox’s Ezra Klein that Facebook helped snuff out anti-Rohingya propaganda through scanning pictures, videos and other documents sent via Messenger. Zuckerberg specifically stated, “In such cases, our systems can detect what’s going on. We stop those messages from going through.”

In response, six organizations in Myanmar signed a letter to Zuckerberg rejecting the CEO’s claim and stating that the Messenger platform does not provide a reporting function, at least in Myanmar. The letter added that hate speech messages were deliberately pushed to large numbers of people and that Messenger was unable to detect them.


Sources: Seeking Alpha, Fortune, CNBC

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