The fresh disclosures about the Cambridge Analytica affair are dismaying for Facebook, and they were getting a lot of deserved attention on Wednesday. The company plans to launch this feature, called "view ads", globally by June. While this helped individuals find friends, Facebook says malicious actors have also used this technique.
But the nationwide movement to delete Facebook is gaining more traction than previous public protests calling for privacy and transparency, said Karthik Kannan, an expert in big data who studies systems that exploit instincts and biases to nudge human behavior.
Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has continued the company's apology tour over its data scandal, acknowledging that Facebook knew Cambridge Analytica had mishandled users' data 2 1/2 years ago but saying the company failed to follow up when the consulting firm said the data had been deleted.
"The expectations around ownership and lifespan of a message are pretty integral to the functioning of a platform, and to people's trust and comfort with it, even if most people don't explicitly think about it that way". It has also deepened concerns about the social media network's ability to avoid being exploited to spread propaganda and sway elections.
Some see this as a sort of cover-up where Facebook can say it was testing a feature and that it will now be given to all users.
Since then, they've been on a major offensive, apologizing on national TV and rolling out new privacy policies. Zuckerberg has made similar statements in the past, but has added that Facebook remains committed to offering a free service paid for by advertising. But Facebook has been conducting a broader review of its own practices and how other third-party apps use data. "If someone is harassing you, for example, or being abusive, and they can go back and modify or delete your conversations and then say they never behaved the way you accuse them of behaving, that's pretty very bad!"
Last year, The Guardian reported that both Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ were connected to a pair of campaigns advocating for Britain to leave the European Union, and that they had a "close working relationship".
Congress has been interested in increasing regulation on Facebook due to its size and the myriad of issues it's facing.
Zuckerberg is set to testify on the privacy scandal Tuesday before a joint hearing of the Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees, and a day later before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Separately, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and various authorities in Europe are investigating. He has said he "absolutely" believes AggregateIQ drew on Cambridge Analytica's databases for its work on the Brexit campaign.