Remember when social media giant Facebook was battling privacy issues after it emerged the network had colluded with troubled data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica to influence people during U.S.’s polls, among other elections in the world including Kenya’s?
Well, the case did not go away, and for more than 12 months, Facebook has been negotiating with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for a verdict that should justly punish it for data missteps that saw its CEO summoned by the U.S. Congress.
Cambridge Analytica is currently being seen in a bad light after it was revealed the company was using dubious digital means to sell its trade to the highest bidder. The corporation harvested personal information belonging to millions of Facebook users without their consent. The data was then manipulated for targeted ads, which have since been linked compromising the credibility of elections that were thought to be free and fair.
To this end, Facebook has agreed to pay a $5 billion fine to patch things up with regulators as stipulated by the law. The social media company has also promised that it will bolster data privacy – which is something it has pledged to do before, but will it stay true to its word this time around, bearing in mind its business model is based on targeted advertising?
“Transparency and accountability will be two driving concepts. We will have quarterly certifications to verify that our privacy controls are working. And where we find problems, we will make sure they’re fixed. The process stops at the desk of our CEO, who will sign his name to verify that we did what we said we would,” reads a post on Facebook’s comms.
It is worth noting that Facebook accepts that it found ‘shortcomings in its systems’ that allowed some partners, in this case, Cambridge Analytics, to continue accessing data to provide the platform features on their products. Facebook, however, denies there was any form of abuse during the investigation, but acknowledges it will guard against such risks going forward.