As a result of last week’s scandal regarding Facebook’s possible leak of our personal information, #DeleteFacebook has become a possible new trend. Rumor has it that Cambridge Analytica LLC, a private British company that utilizes data mining, brokerage and analysis to produce communication strategy for election purposes, was able to acquire personal information of about 50 million Facebook users. Needless to say, users are infuriated about the fact that this was done under wraps without the consent of said users.
Furthermore, it seems that this particular consultation firm has had a business association with President Trump during the presidential campaign two years ago. A simple analysis of the two sentences aforementioned reveals the possible debauchery and corruption that, in turn, leads to this controversy.
On Tuesday, Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica was let go by the firm after a documentary by Channel 4 went public. In the documentary, Nix was apparently laying claim on their alleged involvement in Trump’s electoral campaign. The consultation company has denied these claims, as expected. Facebook, on the other hand, has placed the entire blame on a “researcher” who supposedly handed the data to Cambridge Analytica while being dishonest to Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Facebook and Sheryl Sandberg, the COO have ostensibly been “working around the clock” in response to the problem, as disclosed by Facebook to the media.
“The entire company is outraged we were deceived. We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information and will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens,” as stated in the statement issued by Facebook on Tuesday.
Brian Acton is one of the founders of WhatsApp, the messaging application that Facebook had previously procured with $19 billion. He now holds the position of Executive Chairman of Signal Foundation, a non-profit organization in the tech industry. Forbes estimate Acton’s net worth as $5.5 billion. Within the same day the statement was issued, Acton began the trend #deletefacebook through Twitter – openly opposing Facebook. Is there an underlying issue, perhaps private, that goes beyond the surface between Acton and Zuckerberg? Since then, #DeleteFacebook has been trending as users gradually learn about the issue.
Needless to say, all of this has significantly impacted Facebook’s market shares because of the loss of public confidence. Facebook has been criticized repeatedly with regards to the approach they have taken in conjunction with this public relations nightmare. Roger McNamee is a venture-capitalist who is one of the most longstanding investors in Facebook. He has publicly expressed his opinion to CNN in an interview on the same day.
“They haven’t even taken the first step of admitting there’s a problem. If they don’t do something pretty soon, people are going to realize they can’t trust Facebook anymore… and that could threaten them permanently,” he suggests.
He believes that this disaster could potentially “destroy” Facebook and that the firm’s executives are not tackling the issue properly. While he has in his hands, significant Facebook stock, it seems like the top executives in the firm, quoting McNamee, “are not talking to me anymore, so I have to communicate through the press”.
McNamee, who still holds Facebook stock, added that Facebook senior execs “are not talking to me anymore, so I have to communicate through the press.”
On Wednesday, Facebook stock is valued at $164.80 per share. That is a slight decrease of 2 percent. By noon ET, however, there was an overall improvement in the market and Facebook’s stock, too went up by 1.7 percent. Yet again, the stock had hit a huge bump last Friday when the rumor first surfaced. Hence, it is still about 7 percent lower than the initial value overall.
Beginning on Monday, the rating for the Facebook application in the App store has below two out of five stars. However, ninety percent of these reviews have not even remarked on the Cambridge Analytica case as well as the leak of private information, Sensor Tower, mobile-analytics research firm reports. They also indicate that this issue, in addition to the hashtag trend has not affected the number of installs of the application.
The tension between Facebook, in its entirety, with others such as Acton and McNamee is ostensibly high. Why isn’t Facebook handling this situation with a better strategy?