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    Facebook’s data breach is ‘incredibly worrying’ for the industry

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    The news that Facebook is being investigated following a data breach has rocked the nation.

    The social media platform is reportedly being investigated by The US Federal Trade Commission after allegations that 50 million users’ private information was misused by political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica (CA).

    CA, which is based in London, denies taking the personal data unknown to users, while British and EU parliaments have called Facebook’s boss Mark Zuckerberg to give evidence to them.

    Both companies are now under scrutiny, after whistle-blower Christopher Wylie, who worked with Cambridge Analytica, alleged that CA harvested large amounts of data through a personality quiz on Facebook called, This Is Your Digital Life.

    Wylie claims that 270,000 people filled out the quiz, but that the data of around 50 million users, mainly in the US, was taken without their consent. This is particularly concerning, particularly with the GDPR law set to come into force in May this year.

    The news has lead to many users boycotting the network, while members of the PA industry have also spoken out.

    “Hearing the news about the data breach with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica seems startling, especially with GDPR on the horizon for May 2018. It seems incredibly worrying that a super-power such as Facebook would be involved given it’s 2.1 billion active users across the globe,” said Charlotte Wibberley, CEO of VIPVA.

    “Many VAs and other businesses use Facebook as a key part of their marketing strategy, as well as being a great place to learn and network. The VIPVA groups on Facebook are places that I know people really value being able to discuss and share ideas in a trusted environment.

    “I am confident this will continue, but this is a reminder to us all of the need to be careful of how we interact and share information, and that the security and protection of our data remains paramount.”

    Using Facebook as a marketing tool has become increasingly more popular within the PA market, and this breach of data will no doubt cause many in the industry to perhaps re-think their strategies and the way that they use the platform.

    For such an iconic company such as Facebook to be involved in this alleged breach, who knows what the future holds for the firm. Facebook’s shares have already started to drop – stock closed down 2.6 per cent on Tuesday, following a steep decline a day earlier.


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    Jade Burke

    Jade Burke, Editor for PA Life

    All stories by: Jade Burke