As Facebook struggles to grapple with one its largest data breaches, Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s co-founder Brian Acton is asking people to delete Facebook.
Taking to Twitter, Brian wrote, "It is time. #deletefacebook.”
Facebook bought instant messaging platform WhatsApp in 2014 for $16 billion. Brian quit WhatsApp earlier this year to start his own foundation – the Signal Foundation. WhatsApp’s other co-founder Jan Koum continues to lead the company.
Facebook has been under the scanner over the past week after it came to light that Cambridge Analytica, a political data analytics company accessed data of over 50 million users of the social media platform without their permission.
Cambridge Analytica is largely funded by Donald Trump supporter Robert Mercer, who donated mney for his election campaign.
The firm is said to have used this data to target political ads on Facebook based on each user’s likes and interests.
The data was accessed by Cambridge Analytica from the creator of a quiz taken by 270,000 Facebook users. That creator then passed on the data to Cambridge Analytica, which is against Facebook’s policy.
This points to a major loophole in Facebook’s API, which allows third-party developers to collect data not just from the users of the Facebook app, but also from that user’s friends network on the social media platform.
However, Facebook’s policy states that such data cannot be marketed or sold, a rule that was violated by Cambridge Analytica
Facebook knew about this data leak back in 2015, but didn’t make the information public.
Interestingly, it has also emerged that private information of hundreds of millions of Facebook users could have been similarly harvested by companies that exploited the same terms.
According to Sandy Parakilas, an ex-employee of Facebook who was the platform operations manager responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012, he had previously warned senior executives that its ‘lax approach’ towards protected data posed serious risks of data breach.
Sandy told Guadian that Facebook did not use its enforcement mechanisms or audit external developers to ensure data was not being misused.
He says that Facebook has absolutely no control over the data once it left Facebook’s servers and there was no insight into what was going on.
He further claimed that Facebook felt like it was better not to know what happened with the data as it was in a stronger legal position if it didn’t know about the abuse that was happening.