A New York Times investigation revealed Tuesday that Facebook has underplayed the extent to which it shared consumer information with different entities. Unbeknownst to customers, the social media large allowed main tech corporations extensive entry to private data: for instance, Amazon and Microsoft may get hold of e-mail addresses, and Spotify and Netflix may learn, edit and delete private messages.
The bombshell caps off a tumultuous yr for the corporate, which has confronted a litany of firestorms about privateness and information, election meddling and the unfold of false claims throughout the 2016 election, and a scarcity of numerous hiring and doubtlessly racist practices.
Right here’s a have a look at a few of Fb’s greatest controversies this yr — and the way its executives haven’t precisely been clear or candid about them.
A whole lot of information breaches and invasions of privateness
The corporate’s apparently in depth gathering and sharing of customers’ information was considered one of a spate of main information and privateness debacles this yr, additional elevating questions in regards to the firm’s practices.
Final week, it disclosed bug in September allowed apps to access photos of as much as 5.6 million customers ― together with images that have been uploaded however by no means posted. That adopted several other bugs this year that additionally inadvertently uncovered consumer data.
In September, Fb introduced that hackers breached a security flaw involving the location’s “view as” characteristic, affecting as many as 50 million consumer accounts. Fb later revised its estimate to about 30 million.
Mark Zuckerberg’s apology tour after the Cambridge Analytica debacle
This spring, the social media large scrambled to answer revelations that the info and political consulting agency Cambridge Analytica, which had ties to President Donald Trump’s 2016 marketing campaign, improperly obtained the personal information of as many as 87 million customers.
Fb founder Mark Zuckerberg issued multiple apologies, gave several media interviews and testified before multiple congressional committees. He confused that Fb, which has confronted criticism for failing to deal with the unfold of misinformation and false claims on its platform throughout the 2016 election, is working to be extra proactive and clear. He additionally expressed an openness to authorities regulation.
However he was not precisely forthcoming in his solutions to lawmakers, often dodging questions by telling lawmakers that he would “follow up” or “get again to you.”
Sheryl Sandberg’s involvement in a marketing campaign to dig up grime on George Soros and different Fb critics
In November, Facebook admitted that it employed a Republican opposition analysis agency to dig up grime on billionaire philanthropist and outstanding Democratic donor George Soros, a frequent goal of anti-Semitic, right-wing conspiracy theories.
The social media large enlisted the assistance of Definers Public Affairs final yr, initially for monitoring media protection, after widespread criticism of the way in which Fb largely dismissed its function in spreading misinformation campaigns throughout the 2016 election. However the agency’s work later expanded to incorporate selling damaging protection of Fb’s rivals Apple and Google, in addition to linking Fb protesters and critics to Soros.
After The New York Occasions initially reported on the marketing campaign, together with that Chief Working Officer Sheryl Sandberg oversaw it, Sandberg called the report “simply untrue,” saying that “I didn’t know we employed them or in regards to the work they have been doing, however I ought to have.”
However she later admitted that Definers’ work had “crossed my desk.”
Accusations of racism and a scarcity of range in hiring
After leaving the corporate in November, former Fb worker Mark Luckie released a lengthy public statement pillorying the corporate for its lack of range in hiring and patterns of censoring black customers’ posts.
“In some buildings, there are extra ‘Black Lives Matter’ posters than there are precise black individuals,” he wrote. “Fb can’t declare that it’s connecting communities if these communities aren’t represented proportionately in its staffing.”
Luckie, whose work on the firm targeted on elevating underrepresented voices, additionally mentioned he noticed a sample of black individuals’s posts getting misreported or misidentified as “hate speech,” explaining “there’s a prevailing idea amongst many black customers that their content material is extra more likely to be taken down on the platform than every other group.”
The company removed his post temporarily, claiming it didn’t meet Fb group requirements, earlier than restoring it.
Civil rights groups have also singled out Facebook as a result of its misinformation campaigns, together with Russian propaganda throughout the 2016 election and Definers’ efforts to crack down on Fb’s critics, disproportionately focused black customers.