Facebook Data Breach: What You Should Know

It has been quite a while since user and consumer data has had the promise of being completely secure. Sony, Target, Equifax, and Yahoo! are just a handful of the names that come to mind when discussing the topic of security and information hacks. In mid-March 2018, Facebook was added to that seemingly infinite list of data breaches, but there was something different about this one - it was done legally.

Where the 2014 Sony breach or the massive 2017 Equifax breach were orchestrated by criminal third parties, the Facebook “leak” of user information was due to the social networking site’s application programming interface (API) and a very crafty data analytics firm.

It had been known since 2015 that Cambridge Analytica (CA), which was directly connected to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, was using Facebook to harvest user data from millions of profiles to build a more efficient marketing database. While that may sound like it crosses the line of legality, it was Facebook’s own API that allowed the informational breach to occur.

Prior to a 2015 update to the API, a loophole granted third-party developers access to data of both users of their apps and the friends of those users. CA merely utilized this careless gap in the interface to collect data from over 50 million users. The analytics firm did allegedly turn around and use this information for marketing purposes for the Trump campaign, which did go against Facebook’s terms of service.

Why a story that’s almost three-years-old is gaining traction once again is more about news outlets connecting the dots between CA’s actions and Facebook’s acknowledgment that such an abuse of user data was going on. The one upside to all of this, as pointed out by vice president and deputy general counsel at Facebook Paul Grewal, is that “[n]o systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked.”

Those concerned that their private personal information has once again been stolen can rest easy. Kind of. What this sort of data breach does is make the public aware of what information is technically not private, even when an account is set to strict privacy settings. Status updates, interests, and check-ins are an example of the type of information lifted by CA and used in the tactical targeting of millions of users. It all calls back to a good rule of thumb: Don’t post anything on social media you don’t want to become publicly known.

Though Facebook’s actions and API fell within all legal confines, the outcry, which comes from sources like WhatsApp’s co-founder Brian Acton, is based more on the company’s ethics than the law. The social networking company did reverse the known loophole in its API, but only after CA was caught red-handed using a system that Facebook had implemented. It doesn’t help that advocacy groups have been trying to push for user data privacy, which would have avoided such a fiasco.


How you react to the breach of data is a matter of personal preference. While some users may view it as a company being ingenious and cleverly using what legal resources are available, others may see it as an advantageous and unethical act facilitated by the very social media network they trusted with their data.

Win McNamee/Getty Images // CBS Television Distribution

In December, President Donald Trump established the United States Space Force, a sixth branch of the United States Army.

The goal of the force is to protect United States assets in outer space from foreign rivals and is slated to cost around $2 billion in the next five years.

Today, Trump unveiled the official logo for the Space Force, but people think it bears a striking resemblance to another iconic symbol.

Keep reading...
Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images // JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

People were stunned this past July when President Donald Trump tweeted that four Congresswomen of color—Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)—should "go back" to where they came from.

He also falsely claimed they "originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe..."

Three of the Congresswomen were born in the United States. Omar was a refugee from Somalia. All are Americans.

At a campaign rally days later in North Carolina, President Donald Trump mentioned Congresswoman Omar—and got a strong reaction from the crowd.

While bigotry is common at a Trump rally, it became even more blatant when Trump's supporters began chanting "Send her back," echoing the calls from Trump's tweet for them to "go back" to where they came from.

Keep reading...
Fox News

As Democratic House impeachment managers make their case against President Donald Trump, one of his favorite news networks is going to lengths to keep the bevy of evidence against him from reaching their viewers' ears.

At first, Fox News tried scrolling Trump's so-called accomplishments alongside live video of the historic proceedings. Now, the network's latest attempt to distract from the Democrats' arguments is raising eyebrows even higher.

Keep reading...
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images // Alex Wong/Getty Images

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was one of the first witnesses in the House of Representatives' initial impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Vindman testified before the House's select committee on impeachment late last year after hearing Trump's infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Keep reading...
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The administration of President Donald Trump relies on its white Evangelical base to keep its support consistently hovering around 40 percent.

In keeping with this, President Donald Trump often invokes anti-abortion values he claims to hold dear. He's falsely claimed that Democrats are determined to rip babies from their mothers' wombs and that parents often discuss with their doctors whether or not to keep the baby...after the baby is born.

These claims are patently false, but they rile up the base.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seems to be playing right along in promoting abortion hysteria, if a recent speech is any indication.

Keep reading...
Fox News

After hours of evidence presented by the House Impeachment managers in the Senate trial against President Donald Trump, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) strayed even further into the abyss of fanaticism as he defended the President to reporters.

Graham, a Trump critic turned ally, didn't attempt to refute any of the myriad evidence laid out by Democrats, but instead dismissed the claims that Trump did anything wrong when he withheld congressionally approved aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into his political rival.

Keep reading...