A few years back, it was found that Cambridge Analytica had illegally obtained personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users.
This data was collected using an app on Facebook’s platform, This Is Your Digital Life, which presented itself as a personality quiz.
This app was used by around 270,000 people. It requested each user permission to access all their friends’ personal information.
For some users, this app allegedly had permission to access the following information on their friends:
- Page likes
- Birth dates
- Private messages
Many users granted this permission, without taking the time to check what information the app was asking for.
The total number of users, whose profiles this app had access to, amounted to around 87 million.
You could point out that this app’s users should have been more mindful of what data they were agreeing to share, and you wouldn’t be wrong.
However, it wouldn’t have even occurred to many of the users, how much data they might be able to hand over, with the simple click of a button.
Users typically expect their private messages to remain private; not handed over to any app that might ask for them.
Furthermore, the 87 million people, whose data was breached, shouldn’t have been punished for the inattentiveness of their friends.
Facebook has since tightened restrictions on what data third party apps can access through its APIs, and made its privacy settings easier to understand.
Although Facebook survived the PR disaster, many people, to this day, are no longer willing to trust the platform with their data.