Categories Markets, Technology

Facebook scandal: How far does it go?

There appears to be no end to the Facebook mess. The whole saga that started with Cambridge Analytica has now landed on the topic of facial recognition. Facebook will have to face a class action lawsuit for illegal use of facial recognition technology on photos without user consent that could lead to potential fines of billions of dollars.

The suit was filed in 2015 in violation of biometric information privacy laws. Facebook believes the case is unmerited and claimed it would defend itself vigorously.

The Cambridge Analytica incident opened a can of worms when it revealed that around 87 million Facebook users had their information harvested for political and commercial reasons. Alongside allegations of influencing the 2016 US election, evidence has emerged of Cambridge Analytica helping a campaign group in the Brexit referendum.

Those who prided themselves on not having a Facebook account would have been in for a nasty surprise when Facebook revealed recently that it could collect info from people who did not use the website. This was done through third-party websites and apps which used Facebook services by allowing people to like and share content and had options to log in using a Facebook account.

Facebook scandal: how far does it go
(Image Courtesy: Pixabay)

In short, a person did not have to be on Facebook to be exposed; they could have used any website with connections to Facebook for their information and preferences to be collected. That shows the scary reach of Facebook. What makes it more terrifying is that Facebook even collected information such as IP address, operating system, and browser type.

These details were revealed as part of Facebook’s efforts to bring more transparency into its operations.

Experts have called for more regulation on companies like Facebook along with giving users control of their online profiles and bringing in options like profile portability. Profile portability allows users to transfer their profile from one platform to another similar to how mobile phone numbers are transferred.

Facebook revealed that it could collect info from people who did not use the website

There are assumptions that Facebook will not be affected by all this for long. Facebook shares have dropped over 10% since the scandal broke out. However, during the two-day testimony of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s stock saw a rally.

Moreover, top asset manager BlackRock’s largest stock-picking fund, the Global Allocation Fund, has reportedly made a huge bet on Facebook and on the belief that the scandal will not affect the stock for long. This would be a seal of approval for Facebook.

In the short-term, there are chances that Facebook’s profits could be impacted as the company would have to take serious measures to step up privacy and security. Despite this, the social media site’s advertising revenues are not likely to be affected much. It appears that Facebook will prevail after all.

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