Are Facebook’s Golden Days Over?

Last month, the world was shocked at how Cambridge Analytica harvested private data from the Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) profiles of millions of Americans without their permission. Following this massive data leak, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the Senate’s Commerce and Judiciary committees in early April to apologize and defend the company.

The Data Scandals Rocking Facebook

Using a personality quiz, a Russian-American Professor Aleksandr Kogan collected the personal information of 300,000 Facebook users, and then collected data on over 70 million of their friends. He then sold this data to Cambridge Analytica for $800,000. Cambridge Analytica then used this data to create a psychological warfare tool to influence United States elections.

Facebook is now working with governments in the US, the UK, and around the world to do a full audit of what they’ve done and to make sure they get rid of any data they may still have. Mark told the senate that it is investigating every single app that had access to a large amount of information and has promised that if it finds any improper use of data, it will ban them from Facebook and tell everyone affected. Going forward, it will make sure that developers can’t access as much information.

Since the 2016 elections, Facebook has deployed new AI tools that do a better job of identifying fake accounts that may be trying to interfere in elections or spread misinformation. It has already removed tens of thousands of fake accounts ahead of the elections in France, Germany, and Alabama last year. It is also rolling out ads transparency tools that bring a higher standard of transparency than TV or print ads. It plans to implement this in time for the 2018 US midterms as well as upcoming elections in Mexico, Brazil, India, and Pakistan.

Facebook’s Financials

Facebook’s Q1 revenues grew 49% over the year to $11.97 billion, ahead of the market’s estimates of $11.4 billion. Net income was $4.98 billion or $1.69 per share, above the Street forecast of $1.35.

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Sramana Mitra is the founder of One Million by One Million (1M/1M), a global virtual incubator that aims to help one million entrepreneurs ...

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