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It’s been a tough few months for Facebook, with the social network giant becoming engulfed in a number of controversies including election interference, fake news and data breaches. Earlier last week the news broke that data firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed private Facebook user data, using this information to target ads supporting Donald Trump's election campaign, causing uproar across the web.
While Facebook is likely to remain mostly intact after it’s involvement with Cambridge Analytica, this scandal has raised a number of issues and has highlighted a range of problematic aspects involving social media, user data and online advertising.
For some time now, even before Cambridge Analytica, more and more online users have become aware that their data is being used and that ads are shown to them based on date. For the most part this is accepted by users, it’s something many have been aware of for years, accepting that Facebook is a free platform that needs targeted advertising to remain free.
However more people are realising that their data is being used in other ways, more negative way and are likely looking to find answers about what went wrong and how they can protect their privacy better in the future.
We live in a world where companies are using our data with very little constraints and supervision. While this is great for businesses and marketers, when used in the wrong hand's data can be used negatively.
With GDPR due to come into place within the EU and many in outside countries beginning to ask questions about how our data is being stored and uses online, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that companies such as Facebook will become regulated in order to control how they view and use this data, offering privacy protection and leaving consumers with a trustworthy service.
The Cambridge Analytica debacle isn’t good news for Facebook, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. These days users want meaningful experiences online and they want privacy laws that protect their personal data, without rules, it’s likely that more users are going to jump ship on social media platforms.
It’s clear that Cambridge Analytica and Facebook have serious questions to answer about how they collected and used data, but now is the time to seriously consider how others are approaching data collection.