Facebook Didn’t Read the Fine Print on Data-Harvesting App
Facebook failed to read the fine print on app that ultimately played a major role in the harvesting of data for tens of millions of its users.
Speaking to UK parliamentary members on Thursday, Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer acknowledged that Facebook “did not read all of the terms and conditions” in an app built by Global Science Research that collected user data and ultimately shared it with political analytics company Cambridge Analytica. If Facebook had read the terms and balked at the app’s data-collection efforts, it’s possible the mess the world’s largest social network finds itself in now could have at least partially been avoided. CNBC earlier reported on his comments.
Facebook has come under fire of late after it was revealed that the Global Science Research app gave data on nearly 90 million Facebook users to Cambridge Analytica without those users’ knowledge. Facebook has since apologized amid the scandal and promised to do a better job of safeguarding user data. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was also questioned by lawmakers earlier this month about the company’s data-privacy practices.
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Still, things appear to be going well for Facebook. The company on Wednesday announced that its first-quarter revenue was up 49% year over year and its $1.69 earnings per share beat analyst estimates of $1.35. The company noted that despite its missteps, advertisers, which account for the vast majority of its revenue, haven’t turned their back on the service.
But the end doesn’t appear to be in sight for Facebook. The company is in the process of implementing several initiatives that aim at improving user data. And its acknowledgement that it didn’t read the fine print on an app that’s caused so much trouble will likely not be something some users forget so quickly.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment on Schroepfer’s comments.