Facebook and its executives are on the receiving end of a firestorm of criticism after poorly handling a tremendous data leak.
Reports showed that a data firm linked with the Trump campaign collected private information from millions of Facebook users.
Execs Head to Twitter
A number of Facebook execs turned to Twitter to express themselves. There, they underscored that the data leak wasn’t technically a data “breach.” That said, critics of Facebook’s actions and the handling of this incident were only further incensed by this response. They pointed the finger at the social network and accused them of missing the point and focusing on semantics instead of the larger situation.
This all started when news reports revealed that the Cambridge Analytica data firm – a company that worked on the 2016 Trump campaign – improperly collected private user data from 50 million people on Facebook.
The first reports appeared on Saturday and before the weekend was through, critics and privacy advocates were calling for investigations as well as greater oversight and regulation. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey went so far as to announce the launch of an investigation.
“Massachusetts residents deserve answers immediately from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica,” tweeted Healey.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota-D) issued her own demand that the Senate Judiciary Committee question Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO.
“This is a major breach that must be investigated. It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves,” tweeted Klobuchar. “I’ve called for more transparency & accountability for online political ads. They say ‘trust us.’ Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary.”
As controversial as this topic is for many reasons, the outrage expressed online is aimed mainly at the insistence that this was not a “data breach.” Angry tweets both argued that it was indeed a data breach and that Facebook’s executives should have been more focused on the issue instead of playing games with the wording defining the privacy leak.
“This was unequivocally not a data breach,” tweeted Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of consumer hardware. “People chose to share their data with third party apps and if those third party apps did not follow the data agreements with us/users it is a violation. no systems were infiltrated, no passwords or information were stolen and hacked,” he added.