The year 2018 is drawing to a close, and it would be fair to admit: it hasn’t been a good year for several technology-related companies and its customers. The year has been defined by numerous scandals in the tech world, and it’s time to recap some of them.
Facebook and Cambridge Analytica
March 2018 wasn’t the best month for Facebook, to say the least. You always expect the tech giant to show growth, instead, the company lost about $60 billion in capitalization. The reason for this was the colossal data leak of 87 million users – something that the company couldn’t get away with. As a result, each “leaked” user took “cost” about more than a thousand dollars as it became known that research firm Cambridge Analytica somehow secretly obtained user data and (allegedly) used it to help Donald Trump win the presidential race.
The most scandalous thing about this is that Facebook could have known about data leakage, but did not do anything to prevent it. The result is a rapid drop in the value of the company’s shares, investigations both in the US and Europe, and a widespread contempt. According to the preliminary results of the investigation, Cambridge Analytica used illegally obtained Facebook data to place highly effective advertisements and influence the opinion of social network users.
The stock market reacted in such a way to the blow to the reputation of the brainchild of Zuckerberg, which personal worth suffered the most from these actions. Twitter users reacted in a “Delete Facebook” campaign which gained popularity on the social network. The campaign is supported by Brian Ecton, one of the creators of WhatsApp, who left Facebook in 2017 and Elon Musk himself. Eventually, Mark Zuckerberg provided apologies, but the scandal is regarded as the biggest corporate betrayal in modern history.
On December 5, Member of the UK Parliament, Damien Collins, published more than 200 pages of internal documents of the company, he had gained access to in late November. Documents include correspondence of top managers on the methods of monetization, cooperation with developers and handling user data. As you might have already guessed, in those documents things do not look good for Facebook either. That’s how Collins commented on the situation: “I believe there is considerable public interest in releasing these documents. They raise important questions about how Facebook treats users data, their policies for working with app developers, and how they exercise their dominant position in the social media market”.
Ironic enough, but back in 2017, Mark Zuckerberg said his New Year’s resolution was “to fix Facebook”. Well, it turns like you have one more try to accomplish the task in 2019, Mark.