Recently, Facebook has come under significant fire for a data breach within the last couple of years. This issue is particularly concerning as more and more companies have their data compromised. Any business from a gas station, to a department store, to an online shopping center or site has experienced issues with hackers acquiring users private data. While some data breaches may be more serious than others, such as bank information or social security numbers being stolen, any invasion of private information is unsettling, especially with a company as large as Facebook, where many people feel safe using the platform.
People in America and Britain learned that a political data firm, Cambridge Analytica, linked to President Trump’s campaign in 2016 was able to collect private data from over 50 million Facebook users. This breach of privacy is bad enough, but lawmakers learned that Facebook failed to notify users about the data breach.
The data firm was founded by Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer, both supporters of President Trump. The firm used the information it gathered to identify American voters for specific criteria and then influence their behavior in the 2016 election. Though it’s under debate how much these efforts actually influenced voters, the main issue is that Facebook failed to notify users that their data had been compromised. Lawmakers in Britain are currently looking into concerns of fake news and Russian interference that led to Brexit occurring in 2016 as well.
Facebook was already under scrutiny because of fake news and trolling by Russian sources, so this coverup of the data breach is only adding fuel to the fire.
What steps are being taken?
As Facebook moves to make up for failing to release the information on the date breaches, lawmakers are calling for Mark Zuckerberg to appear before Congress. Their initial silence raised red flags and brought the issue rapidly into the spotlight as more and more people demanded answers. People are searching for whose responsible for this error and other are even questioning the purpose of continuing to use Facebook.
Facebook higherups have begun breaking their silence, but there are still plenty of questions about what happened and what needs to be done to prevent instances like this one from reoccurring. It remains to be seen what happens now.
How can you protect yourself?
As this issue becomes public knowledge and people and businesses are scrutinizing their own privacy and security preferences, it’s more important than ever before to make sure your personal information is secure, whether you’re simply using sites online or you’re running a business that holds others’ private information.
If you’re responsible for a business that’s storing private information, the best step you can take is simply keeping your security up-to-date and frequently check its strength. If you do not have someone in-house capable of this step, find a contractor or company who can do it for you. The investment is certainly worth it if it means it keeps private company and consumer information safe.
If you’re simply concerned about how to keep your personal information safe online, there are a few steps you can take. Remember to only give private information to sites that are labeled as secure and always use a secure browser. Avoid saving passwords or credit card information and regularly update your passwords for different accounts. Finally, monitor your credit score and accounts to detect any fraud early on.