After reports about data firm Cambridge Analytica, associated with President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, accessing information of 50 million Facebook users surfaced in the media, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went into a damage control mode and said that there was a violation of data usage policies and steps will be taken to protect users’ privacy. Zuckerberg admitted that he had committed technical and business errors. According to him, wrong people were hired for the job. The Facebook founder added that when he had started the social networking website, he was too inexperienced.
Expressing regret over the manner in which Facebook has handled its user-data, Zuckerberg posted on his social media account, “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you. I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Facebook has been garnering headlines for all the wrong reasons for compromising user-data prompting WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton to post a tweet, “It is time. #deletefacebook”. Netizens are worried about online privacy as many of them supported him on social media. Since users’ Facebook accounts are connected with their email ids and mobile numbers, they fear that their data can be misused by third party. Many of them have become inactive on Facebook and are averse to post their personal details on the site. Zuckerberg may have apologised to users for compromising their data but will he be able to restore the confidence of netizens in the aftermath of this incident? Will he take necessary steps to prevent a repeat of such incidents?
Swapnil Vaze, a Kalyan resident said that Facebook needs some more security features to protect users-data. He said, “The firm’s Indian division must take more precautions. They should frame strict norms to prevent such malpractice in future.”
India too is closely watching the Facebook user-data compromise incident and warned the social networking site that strict action will be taken against if it tries to influence the country’s upcoming electoral process in unethical manner. IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Indian government supports freedom of press, speech and expression. He added that the Indian government won’t tolerate any attempt made by Facebook to influence the electoral process through “undesirable means”. The BJP has also accused the Congress for engaging with Cambridge Analytica for next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye expressed that since last so many years government has been taking security measures seriously. He said, “In future we will prevent users’ data being compromised. Since India and the world are going through a transition phase of technology, hence, such incidents are occurring.”
“We are keen to strengthen cyber security laws to prevent misuse of data. Ravi Shankar Prasad has already cleared India’s stand on cyber security. BJP has taken both the killing of Indians in Iraq and data leak incidents seriously. All the allegations made by Congress against us are baseless,” he added.
On the other hand, Congress alleged that the government is bringing up this issue on the forefront to divert people’s attention from the death incident of 39 Indians in Iraq. The party denied the allegations made by BJP against it of having links with Cambridge Analytica. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that neither the party nor its president had hired services of the data analytics firm. He said, “This is a fake agenda, a white lie being dished out on fake facts by the Law Minister. And this has become a daily order with Prasad.”
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that BJP is trying to divert the attention of people by raising this issue. He said, “Ravi Shankar Prasad should take relevant action against those persons who are sharing data. People are aware about BJP’s links with Cambridge Analytica and also their partner company ‘OBI’. The party’s election campaigns are managed by these companies.”
He further said that even Modiji had met Mark Zuckerberg but nobody is aware about the agreement signed between them. “Ravi Shankar Prasad had meetings with these firms many times. BJP is the real culprit but they are blaming the opposition,” he added.
Often allegations have been made against Facebook for collecting user-data and selling them to firms for a price. Therefore, users are aware about the vulnerability of posting their personal information like photos, posts on the social networking site.
Rochak Saxena, a student said, “Keeping in mind, what recently happened, people should not judge Facebook and its security with this single incident; we should cooperate and support the firm and its team to rectify their mistake.”
He further added, “It’s their job to keep the data safe. When you trust the company, you put up your personal information there; you should give them a chance and trust them by keeping your data secure rather than boycotting.”