Following the Cambridge Analytica data breach disaster, Facebook has been scrambling to repair relationships with users. After days of silence, Zuckerberg finally addressed the breach in a Facebook post, and then took out full page ads in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and six British papers to publicly apologize, USA Today reports.
"This was a breach of trust, and I'm sorry we didn't do more at the time," the Facebook founder wrote. "We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can't, we don't deserve it." In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg promised to "investigate all appts that had access to large amounts of information," "restrict developers' data access," and help users understand who has access to their data. He has reportedly agreed to testify in front of Congress, according to CNBC.
Was it enough, though? Since news of the data breach (and the disturbing discovery that some Android users had even had their call and text histories saved by Facebook), the hits have only kept coming:
1. Facebook is being sued for housing discrimination.
The National Fair Housing Alliance, in conjunction with three other nonprofit housing advocacy organizations, has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging that their advertising platform “enables landlords and real estate brokers to exclude families with children, women, and other protected classes of people from receiving housing ads.” The suit alleges that Facebook, by controlling what demographics are able to see which housing ads, is in violation of the Fair Housing Act, and is demanding that the company “end its discriminatory advertising practices.” Facebook has not responded to Fast Company's request for a comment.
2. Facebook takes multiple financial hits.
As the backlash against Facebook has continued to grow, a number of companies have distanced themselves from the social media platform by pulling their advertising from the site. Mozilla, the creators of the Firefox web browser, released a statement on their website last week announcing that they were “pressing pause” on their relationship with Facebook, and called for the social media giant to do better.
"When Facebook takes stronger action in how it shares customer data, specifically strengthening its default privacy settings for third party apps, we’ll consider returning," it read. The company later announced a new Firefox add-on that will enable users to prevent Facebook from accessing their online activity. Mozilla isn’t the only company to say sayonara to Facebook, either: Pep Boys, wireless speaker manufacturer Sonos, and Commerzbank, Germany's second largest bank, have all done the same, The Hill reports.
In addition to the social backlash, Facebook has also been hit where it hurts most: financially. In terms of the stock market, the company recently faced its worst week since 2012, with shares having fallen more than 13 percent, CNBC reports, and closing Friday (March 23) just below $160. The company lost roughly $75 billion in market capitalization, thanks in part to a slew of bad press, such as the #deletefacebook movement that trended on Twitter.
3. Elon Musk says he isn't a fan.
It's open season on Facebook, apparently. Not only is the company losing support from advertisers, but tech billionaire Elon Musk has revealed that he’s just not a fan of the platform.
The SpaceX founder and co-founder of Tesla recently deleted the Facebook pages for both of his companies. He later clarified that the act wasn’t intended to be viewed as social commentary, but rather as a matter of personal preference, CNBC reports. It gives him the willies, apparently.
4. The UK and South Korea are not pleased.
South Korea isn’t the only country displeased with Facebook, either. Zuckerberg recently refused to testify before a British Parliamentary committee in regards to the Cambridge Analytica data breach, and has chosen instead to send either chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer or chief product officer Chris Cox, Fortune reports, despite Parliament’s digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee chair Damian Collins implying that Zuckerberg should attend himself.
5. FTC announces an official investigation.
Lest there be any doubt: there seems to be very little chance that this scandal is going to just blow over. In addition to a British Parliamentary committee requesting that Zuckerberg testify in regards to the recent data breach, the Federal Trade Commission confirmed an investigation earlier this week, after previously declining to comment. “The FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook,” read the statement.
The investigation will look into whether the company violated a consent decree signed with the agency in 2011, CNBC reports. Any violation of the agreement could cost the company a penalty of $40,000 per violation. "We remain strongly committed to protecting people's information. We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have," Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer for Facebook, said in a statement to CNBC.
6. ICE somehow got involved
According to a new report from The Intercept, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement used backend Facebook data to locate and track suspects for deportation. ICE agents reportedly are able to find out when the suspect’s Facebook account was accessed last, as well as an accompanying IP address, and use that information to aid in pursuing their suspect. The extent to which ICE might use social media is unknown.
A spokesman for ICE confirmed that the group has the “ability to seek subpoenas and court orders to legally compel a company to provide information that may assist in case completion and subsequent prosecution.” Facebook denied that the agency has any “unique access to data”— meaning, none that any other law enforcement branch wouldn’t have reasonable access to. "In this case, our records show that ICE sent valid legal process to us in an investigation said to involve an active child predator," read the statement. "ICE did not identify any immigration law violations in connection with its data request to Facebook in this case."
7. Facebook is the new punchline.
To add insult to injury, Facebook recently became the butt of a televised joke. During the season 5 opening of HBO’s Silicon Valley, eagle-eyed viewers spotted a nod to another one of Facebook’s recent scandals, Fast Company reports. While other, normal logos of well-known companies like Twitter and YouTube made brief appearances during the opening sequence, Facebook’s logo, for the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment that it’s there, swiftly transforms into Russian lettering before turning back to normal, no doubt a reference to Russian bots allegedly using Facebook to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. Ouch.
Will you be deleting your Facebook?
(Photo: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is seen on an iPhone in this photo illustration. Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)