Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Scandal: 3 Lessons for Business & Personal Life

Facebook has been trending across social media for the past weeks as it struggles to cope with an unfolding scandal over the
way Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis firm got hold of information about 50 Million users.

The reason this is scandalous, is that, Facebook essentially allowed the initial data to be accessed by the third-party application and at same time maintained that its rule were violated.

So the question is, why didn’t Facebook raise the alarm, why wait long until whistle blower, Christopher Wylie broke the news?

News broke that the right-wing political consulting firm, funded by prolific conservative donor Robert Mercer and former White House advisor Stephen Bannon, acquired data on more than 50 million Facebook users likes through the use of a third party app. That data was then used to target users with political ads intended to sway their opinions or influence behaviors in favor of the Trump campaign.

The Big question is, did Facebook really breach the trust or customers did not read to understand Facebook T&c’s?

“In this instance, Facebook is accused of a huge breach, abuse of trust, and as customers, people, we are rightly outraged by this,” Andrew Busby, founder and CEO of Retail Reflections, said. “We use platforms with an unwritten (sometimes written, if we read the T&C’s) rule that trust will be the backbone of our relationship and that this won’t be abused.”

Lets examine the lessons learnt from this crisis —

Three [3] lessons to learn for business and personal life.

1. Always Be Prepared.

“there’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.”
–Stephen King, Different Seasons–

Preparation was clearly not Facebook’s strong suit here. Preparation would have insulated user data, or at the very least made users aware that the type of data harvesting Cambridge Analytica engaged in was possible. Instead, many users were completely blindsided, unaware that third-party apps connected to Facebook’s API could not only collect but also transfer their data.

As a business manager/entrepreneur, you need to always be prepared for the worst, ensure you are constantly checking, updating or/and  fixing loop holes, improving processes etc.

2. Respond Quickly With a Sense of Responsibility.

“A stitch in time saves nine”

This is one way Facebook failed. Mark Zuckerberg released a statement that amounted to an acceptance of responsibility, and promised that the company would be making changes to its data security policies.

“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

However, the response came four days after news broke of the scandal. Major issues like the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting deserve an immediate response, and Zuckerberg dropped the ball.

“In today’s world either in business or personal life, I believe you have 15 minutes to address some kind of crisis when it emerges over social media,” Davia Temin, founder and CEO of crisis management firm Temin and Co., told MarketWatch. Customers don’t like to be left in the dark. A quick repsonse is key to rebounding.

3. Recover With Accuracy.
You may recall that this is not the first time Zuckerberg and Facebook have outline many promises in a lenghthy post to recover and fix some of their data loop-holes.

In 2014, Zuckerberg in his mea culpa said to investigate apps that had access to similar troves of data, restricting developers’ data access even further to prevent abuse, and increasing transparency about data sharing to users.

Perhaps their efforts have been slow or no effort to recover nothing but recovery largely hinges on whether Facebook can make users believe it has really, truly taken the steps it said it would to mitigate future disaster similar to the Cambridge Analytica.

In business and personal life, when your actions or decisions detroys the trust and confidence of its customers, the cost, if not handled correctly and recovered, could be huge.

My take:
Already Zuckerberg is managing the damage. He has acknowledged the problem, apologized for it, is in the process of a resolution, has accepted responsibility, and is acting with urgency, but the truth is some measure of trust is lost, some huge brands and customers have quit Facebook for good.

Businesses will face crisis at certain business cycle, but being proactive and responsive will hedge you from falling deeper.

Post Credit: JVmorris + Inc.com 

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JVmorris is a technology and business consultancy Service Company with over 7 years experience on bespoke technology- mobile app, web applications, digital sales, marketing and other various business solutions with the mission of making businesses succeed.

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