Those who have done as little as glance at the front page of national newspapers or television screens when news channels are running are likely familiar with these words: Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, and Donald Trump – all used together in covering this story.
Experts most familiar with the topic discussed herein believe the active United States President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 election campaign was privy to personal information from as many as 50 million Facebook profiles.
Congresspeople are readily getting more involved into allegations of some Russian individuals’ and organizations’ 2016 election interference, as cybersecurity issues on America’s most popular social media platform – Facebook – is unarguably a big deal.
In response to most recent developments, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Republican counterpart John Kennedy, both ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, together penned a letter to the committee’s chairman, Chuck Grassley, demanding a formal investigation-type hearing with the chief executive officer of some of the world’s most popular social media platforms, like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Just three full days ago, on Saturday, March 17, 2018, both The New York Times and The Observer, a popular print and digital news media source hailing from London, England, delivered proof that Cambridge Analytica wrongfully got its proverbial hands on data mined from many millions of innocent Facebook users.
Cambridge Analytics was able to gain such access through a mobile app devised by a psychologist at a prominent university here in the United States. The app asked users highly personal questions about their lives, and was disguised as a plain, old mobile application.
With such information, Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign could have better tailored advertisements to voters that were on the fence, or to more accurately solicit responses from them.
Going against what objectively good, moral, and fair companies should do, Facebook only publicly acknowledged the widespread data breach after it was surfaced on Saturday. Even then, it never told Facebook users whose accounts were affected that such information was taken by a third-party application.
Despite a wealth of evidence reigning over its collective head, Cambridge Analytica denies all alleged activity regarding data mining, the app developed by the Russian-American scholar, and how information was likely used to make highly customized advertisements and digital marketing campaign outreaches.
Soon enough, tight restrictions and regulations could come to lay over the social media industry.