"We have made mistakes." After five days of silence, Zuckerberg finally had to personally apologize and explain in detail the incident of user data leakage. He promised to strengthen data management for third-party applications in the future. Always sunny he should be difficult to laugh out in recent days. His Facebook suffered a wave of negative shocks of internal and external difficulties. On the one hand, it stems from the inability to get rid of privacy problems, and on the other hand, it is a political struggle that cannot help.
The New York Times: Try Removing Facebook
Market value evaporates $50 billion
According to the reports of the two major Anglo-American left media “The New York Times” and “The Guardian” on the weekend, Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political consultancy based on data analysis, was accused of using Facebook’s poor information management to steal up to 50 million Facebook users. Personal data, during the 2016 US presidential election, helped Republican candidate and incumbent President Trump deliver targeted political advertising.
After the incident was exposed, Facebook quickly blocked Cambridge Analytica. However, this incident caused a great uproar in the mainstream media in the United States. The major media media reported a negative report on Facebook. #Delete Facebook account # quickly became a hot topic for Twitter, and even became the headline of some technology media, and even WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton (Brian Acton) also lost no time calling for the deletion of Facebook account. (Three years after selling WhatsApp for $19 billion to Facebook, he has left Facebook.)
Affected by this negative incident, Facebook's share price has fallen from the previous high of 185 US dollars to the current level of about 168 US dollars. Market value has evaporated nearly 10%, equivalent to more than US$50 billion. This is Facebook's lowest share price performance since 2012 and has even triggered investor lawsuits.
TechCrunch: How to Delete Your Facebook
What is more unfortunate is that Zuckerberg has been selling Facebook shares this year, and has sold 5.4 million shares and cashed in about 980 million US dollars. The fall in stock prices will obviously affect Zuckerberg’s cash-out plan and actual income, as he stated in September last year that he would sell $6 billion worth of stocks within a year and a half to put the funds into the charities he and his wife founded. .
Even worse, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also formally investigated the matter and investigated whether Facebook’s operation in this incident violated a previous commitment in 2012. At that time, Facebook was accused of sharing and exposing user data. Therefore, it promised to seek user consent before collecting and sharing user data.
Facebook also conducted an internal meeting on this event on Tuesday, employees were free to ask questions, but the company’s lawyers responded, and Zuckerberg and Sandberg were both absent. This is also understandable because the so-called intra-company communications cannot be kept confidential, and the questions that Facebook employees asked yesterday were soon appeared in media news reports.
Although Facebook's explanation is that the two are busy investigating the matter, it is obvious that during this sensitive period, any of the two's remarks will be focused by the media, and it is obviously a safer way for professional legal personnel to come forward. It should be noted that when the US Congress conducted a hearing on Russia’s intervention in the U.S. general election last fall, Zuckerberg did not personally go to the capital, Washington, D.C., but was attended by General Counsel of Facebook.
Rashomon around the data
Briefly introduce the ins and outs of this Cambridge Analytica negative event: In 2013, Cambridge University psychology researcher Alexei · Aleksandr Kogan created an application on Facebook “This is your data life” (Thisisyourdigitallife), through the question and answer to predict the user's personality preferences, for his academic research. Sounds like a long-lasting personality test? In fact, in terms of humanity, both Internet users in East and West are similar, and this type of fun test always attracts users.
A total of nearly 300,000 Facebook users downloaded the app, logged in and tested it with their Facebook account. For this reason, Corwin has obtained 300,000 users' lives and favorite content through this application, and has access to their Facebook friends' information flow. The number of users involving up to 50 million is estimated by The New York Times based on the information flow network of 300,000 friends. Corwin’s acquisition of user data through apps does not violate Facebook’s data policy and users agree to submit their personal data when they click on the test.
However, in 2015, Facebook learned from media reports that Koog violated information management policies and privately handed over the data to a company called the Strategic Communications Laboratory (SCL). And Facebook clearly stipulates that third-party application developers may not sell or transfer user data they obtain from Facebook. SCL also has a political data analysis company, which is the core of the incident.—Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook took some countermeasures at the time, withdrew the Cogone personality test application and asked Cogan to destroy the user data he had collected. In August 2016, Facebook also sent a lawyer to ask Cambridge Analytica to immediately remove unauthorized user data and get a positive reply from the latter. However, Facebook is not a law enforcement agency and cannot verify whether the latter really deletes data.
Examiners are yelling that what they are doing is just a common practice on the Facebook platform. There may be thousands of other developers and data scientists who have collected Facebook user data through similar means. Moreover, the Cambridge Analytica staff who promised him at the time not to abuse the rules was the Christopher Wylie, an insider of the “New York Times” and “The Guardian”. .
Cambridge Analytica issued a statement after the incident saying that it had already dismissed the position of the CEO of the company, and their political analysis department did not use Facebook user data collected by Kaogen. After learning that Kogan had violated Facebook's policy, they had already deleted it. All data. However, the mainstream media does not believe Cambridge Analytica this statement.
Although the parties have different calibers on the data, the latter is well known. In July 2016, Republican presidential candidate Trump's campaign team hired Cambridge Analytica and US data marketing expert Parscale to launch digital advertising. And Facebook is the top priority of Trump team for political marketing. Specifically, Cambridge Analytica analysis is responsible for identifying potential audience goals, and Pascal designs the corresponding ads. Based on the personal preferences of the users of these data, it is possible to determine which people may vote for Trump and then advertise them to encourage voters to vote for Trump during the election. In addition, the Trump team will also advertise to potential candidates of Hillary to persuade them not to vote.
Data is the core business model
I believe readers see here, but also a general understanding of the incident. So why did this incident trigger huge public pressure and bring Facebook a huge negative crisis?
Talk about your own opinion first. On the one hand, Facebook did have an unshirkable responsibility in this matter. It did not really protect user data. It did not prevent third-party applications from misusing and selling user data. User privacy has always been the core weakness of Facebook. On the other hand, Facebook was once again involved in the bipartisan dispute in the United States and became the new scapegoat used by mainstream media to attack Trump.
As we all know, Facebook is the world's largest social networking company, but it is also the second largest advertising company in the world. The largest advertising company is of course Google. In 2017, advertising revenue of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reached US$93.4 billion, while Facebook’s advertising revenue last year was US$39.942 billion, a year-on-year increase of 49%. (Note: The advertising company here means advertising media company)
Facebook provides users with free products and services, which means they need user data to sell advertising revenue. The business model of the world’s largest social networking group is to obtain big data about the individual identities and interests of users through the world’s largest social network matrix, which helps advertisers to deliver social advertising that is more accurate and effective than traditional advertising. Up to 98.2% of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising.
This can also explain why Facebook has faced tremendous pressure on user privacy issues for more than a decade, because user data is what Facebook uses to sell assets. From the launch of streaming products in 2006 to the sharing of the default settings in 2009, the psychological trials in 2014 that attempted to influence user sentiment have caused the social networking site to encounter complaints about user privacy almost every few years. Each negative event will promote Facebook to further improve the protection of user privacy.
If Facebook cannot effectively protect user data, it will lose the trust of users and its core business model will face crisis. This is why Alex Stamos, Alex’s chief security officer, was reportedly resigned because of the incident. The Stamos's brother has been a bit of a scapegoat for the past few years; his former club Yahoo (also serving as the chief security officer) has also been shocked by a crisis that has leaked over 1 billion users' personal information.
It is reasonable to speculate that if a college professor can get these user data through a personality test application, then it can be obtained by other application developers on the Facebook platform; if the test firm can sell the data to other companies for marketing, then Other third-party application developers are also theoretically entirely possible. It is entirely possible that "we are all doing this" as we said before.
In fact, this is not the first time that Facebook has encountered similar incidents. In 2010, a network tracking company called RapLeaf used Facebook data to organize its own database and sell it to a political consulting company. In 2015, Facebook officially began restricting developers’ access to user’s friends’ information. However, there is no effective monitoring method for user data downloaded before this. In 2016, Facebook adjusted its open platform policy and forbids political campaign teams from collecting user's friend data.
However, the 50 million users involved in the incident need not worry about anything. Even the 270,000 logged-in users do not need to change their passwords, let alone their personal identities. Because Facebook leaked not the user's core personal data, but the fuzzy data usually available to third parties, that is, the user's city and preferences and dislikes, it is also the user data that advertisers need to deliver accurately.
In contrast, the 1 billion users of the Yahoo data breach incident need to change their email passwords and security issues, while the 143 million users affected by the US credit agency Equifax data breach incident need to really worry about their property safety (because they leaked their name and address Confidential information such as birthdays, birthdays, addresses and social security numbers). Compared with these two serious user data leakage incidents, Facebook’s disclosure of this information can be said to be really nothing. This is the user data that Facebook had previously provided advertisers with accurate advertising.
The New York Times in 2013 praises the Obama team
Obama has long been doing this
Since the issue of user privacy has been the stumbling block that Facebook has encountered repeatedly in the past decade, why did Facebook face such tremendous pressure this time? This is obviously because of political factors. Once again, Facebook has been drawn into the political struggles of the US parties. It has become the United States Democratic Party and the mainstream media that they denounced the "National Public Enemy" Trump's latest target, and became a further failure of the Hillary camp election. scapegoat.
After the incident was revealed, the head of the Democrats of the US House Intelligence Committee, the most prominent California Democratic member Adam · in the "Trend Commoner Russian Survey" Adam Schiff, said that he asked the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica. And the informant Wylie arrived in Washington, DC to attend the hearing.
Essentially, regular advertisers use Facebook to serve accurate ads with user preferences. This is no different from the Trump campaign team running political ads. Perhaps the difference is that the average merchant is authorized by Facebook to get user data, while Cambridge Analytica is allegedly getting user data privately without Facebook authorization.
Prior to providing data marketing services for the Trump campaign team, the last service client of Cambridge Analytica was Trump's primary competitor—— Texas Republican Senator Ted & middot; Ted Cruz. Rebekah Mercer, a shareholder and director of Cambridge Analytica, is a hedge fund manager in New York. As a Republican, she first invested in supporting Cruz and then fully supported Trump.
The Cruze, who has never agreed with Trump, stated that Cambridge Analytica, who had received more than $5 million in advertising lists, had told him that the big data they owned was legitimate. Obviously, no digital marketing company will admit to stealing user data for marketing, advertisers can not conduct detailed verification. After Trump defeated Cruz in the Republican primary primaries, his campaign team found Cambridge Analytica to help advertising companies find target users.
In fact, in this age of social media, American politics has long embraced social networking sites. In this regard, the first to explore and most successful is that of former President Obama. As early as the 2011 Obama re-election campaign, his campaign team widely used the user data collected on Facebook to advertise.
However, Obama’s information collection methods are open and direct. After Obama’s voters voted on the campaign website with a Facebook account, Obama’s campaign team automatically obtained their user data. Then the Obama campaign team obtained the data of their Facebook friends with the consent of these users (which was his supporters). Next, the data analysis team uses these user data and the actual voter data of their location to comprehensively collate, and then generates detailed user information required for political advertising —— not only knows the identity of the user, but also knows how to guide the user .
Obama is the winner of social media campaign strategy
Trump could not expect such treatment. When Obama used social media to collect user data for accurate delivery, the mainstream American media praised him and cheered on technology to help Obama win. A well-known magazine, MIT Tech Review, wrote an article in 2012 about how Obama used the big data to sort out voters. In the article, he said, “The Obama team even knows the 69.95 million voters who voted for him. Everyone's name …… The analyst on the Obama campaign team can see the total number of Democrat votes in each constituency, confirming the people most likely to vote for him. "Digital executives of the Obama campaign have told the media with the joy of success after the election. "The people don't believe in the campaign team, they don't believe in the media, they believe in their friends.
The well-known US left-wing media “The New York Times” also wrote the same article at the time, praising Obama’s successful digital marketing strategy. He also mentioned Facebook’s open-minded attitude. "The Obama campaign team collected Facebook data in detail and triggered Facebook's internal warning. A member of the Obama campaign said that we have triggered alerts that Facebook engineers are not yet ready or even unheard of, and they can only sigh, "Let's just go ahead and stop as long as November 7 (the day before the election). ’”.
After the Obama election victory, the startup company Civis Analytics, which provided him with data analysis support, did not lose its place. They turned to large companies and institutions to provide business data analysis services. In 2016, it also raised $22 million in major investors. This is Eric Schimidt, chairman of Google's parent company.
American mainstream media praised Clinton’s technical means before the 16th presidential election
Hilary team technology talents
In fact, before the 2016 U.S. presidential election results were announced, almost all mainstream U.S. media (mostly the left) strongly believed that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would win the election. Therefore, they also reportedly praised the Clinton team's social marketing strategy. Looking back now, there is a kind of "chicken has not come out, they worry about the number of eggs" feeling.
In September 2016, the author of an American popular science periodical “Scientific American” predicted that Hillary will win the election. The headline of the article is “How the Clinton team used (almost certainly) big data” and the subheading is “Evidence”. It shows that the Hillary team is using a highly targeted (pulling) ticket that Obama had once worked on, which is something that the Trump team cannot match. ”
What exactly is this highly targeted approach? According to the article, this is a predictive analysis method called incremental modeling. The Clinton team started recruiting data analysts as early as July 2015 to help the campaign team determine which voters need persuasive delivery. The analyst of the Hillary team, Elan Kriegel, is the founder of data analysis company BlueLab. He pulled a lot of analysts directly from the BlueLabs team to join the Hilary team.
The data team of Hillary’s campaign camp is very talented. The American mainstream media who believed in Hilary’s victory at the time stated that her team’s technology members came from Internet giants such as Google, IBM, and Facebook, and that the core members of data analysis were senior people who had played an important role in the Obama team.
Analyst for Hillary’s analysis of social advertisements, Eurry Kim, is an advertising effectiveness monitoring team from Facebook. It must be mentioned that Hillary and Facebook executives maintain a very good personal relationship. Sandberg not only expressed publicly that he hopes Hillary will be elected president and will take the initiative to recommend Hillary’s campaign leader for Zuckerberg. (If Hillary is elected, the supervisor is likely to assume the position of having a huge power to the White House chief of staff).
Of course, for any candidate, Facebook is the most difficult ticket platform to ignore. Both Hilary and Trump’s campaign camps have placed a lot of political advertisements on Facebook, and Facebook also provided sales and customer service support for both camp candidates on a standard basis. In the last month alone, the Clinton campaign placed $30 million in digital advertising. Facebook also deliberately clarified that Trump’s paid advertising price is actually slightly higher than Hillary’s.
One data can explain Trump's emphasis on social media. In the last month before the election, Hillary Clinton, with well-funded campaigns, placed more than $200 million in campaign advertisements on television, but Trump invested less than $100 million. The money is not as good as Hillary's. He put more energy and money on social networking sites.
The result of the final election has caused almost all media and the entire Silicon Valley to lose sight. Trump, who has been lagging behind in public opinion polls, has more than 3 million votes behind Clinton on the total votes. However, he defeated Hilary with 304 votes to 227 votes and became a new player by virtue of the unique American electoral college system. Once the owner of the White House.
President Trump is the real reason for this uproar.
Hunting operations in mainstream media
Trump is undoubtedly a controversial president. In addition to various controversial policy positions, his relationship with the mainstream media in the United States is even worse than ever before. He is also the first American president to openly confront the mainstream media.
In addition to the right-centered "Wall Street Journal" and the right-wing "Fox TV", the political position of almost all mainstream media in the United States is leftist or middle-leftist. Although the mainstream media did not criticize President George W. Bush of the Republican Party that year, Bush Jr. never looked directly at Twitter as Trump.
The mainstream media and Democrats could not understand why Trump was able to defeat Clinton. They blamed Russia for interfering in the U.S. general election to help Trump, which triggered a lasting “Thorough-Russian” investigation. In their view, Russia spread false news unfavorable to Hillary through the two major social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter, to help Trump win. If we can find evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, we can legally impeach Trump to step down.
Although close to the Clinton camp prior to the election, Zuckerberg apparently did not want to take this political blunder. After the election, Zuckerberg appeased the disappointed liberals on the one hand and on the other hand firmly denied that the false news on Facebook would affect the US election. That being said, Facebook also began an internal investigation. In October last year, Facebook admitted after investigation that Russia may purchase $100,000 worth of political advertisements through 470 fake accounts, thus hitting 150 million U.S. target users.
This gave Trump’s “American-Liberal” liberals the evidence that they urgently needed, and used this to prove that Russia tried to interfere in the US election. In fact, the political advertisements put by these Russians not only supported Trump, but also opposed Trump. The content involved immigration, homosexuality, ethnicity and many other sensitive topics in the United States. Its main intention was more like that in the United States. There is confusion within the society.
The Facebook user data breach incident clearly has the problem of poor management of information obtained by third-party developers. However, the scale of the users and the sensitivity of the data leaked from this incident are far from the information leakage incidents of Yahoo and Equifax. Compare them. Because the mainstream media was eager to find any evidence of attacks against Trump, Facebook once again firmly backed the heavy barge that interfered in the election.
In fact, from a different perspective, this is also the best affirmation of Facebook's marketing value and political influence. With the help of the exponential mode of communication on social networking sites, according to the mainstream media, Russia has only touched 150 million U.S. citizens with just US$100,000 in advertising fees and changed the U.S. election. This is unthinkable in the era of traditional media.
A candidate who has been criticized by the traditional media and considered to be defeated, actually rely on the efficient and accurate operation of social media, and finally relentlessly reversed into the White House. Trump's election is itself the best example of the political influence of social media. In this regard, Trump himself frankly admits that "I can't win without Twitter and Facebook." ”
In the future of US politics and elections, Facebook will still be the two parties’ battleground and decisive battleground. Perhaps what the US media is really worried about is not Facebook’s disclosure of user data and long-standing user privacy turmoil, but the political influence Facebook has. This is the power that traditional media have lost and will no longer possess.
By the way, Zuckerberg’s political intentions have become more apparent. Last year, he not only took the public relations team to observe the people in various parts of the United States, but also hired himself a network public opinion monitoring specialist. If one day, Zuckerberg personally participate in the election, he should understand how to conduct social marketing and precise advertising on Facebook than any opponent.