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Christopher Wylie May Have Changed the Trajectory of Facebook For Good

March 31, 2018

If you’ve been online lately, you’ve likely seen the word “whistleblower” combined with a photo of a pink haired man pasted across the internet. This all comes down the biggest social media and internet marketing scandal of 2018.

Facebook, a social media platform with almost 2-billion users, has seen a recent decline in popularity after Christopher Wylie, a 28-year old Canadian man, blew the whistle on the massive company for stealing information and using high handed marketing tactics. Wylie was once an employee of Cambridge Analytica, but was suspended for allegedly misusing data in 2014, which may or may not have turned the presidential vote on its head.

Wylie has suggested that information gathered by Cambridge Analytica may have been used to profit Trump on the presidential election and could have also been leaked to Russia. Trump was known to be a client of Cambridge Analytica, making it all the more suspicious. Since the revelation, Wylie has admitted that it was never his intention to hurt Facebook or discredit them; he simply wanted to let the public know how their information is being used and what they agree to share by accepting to use such services.

It is reported that the first data fish for personal information went out with help from Aleksandr Kogan from Cambridge University. The Russian American allegedly assisted in the creation and delivery of a personality test, which was used by approximately 50-million Facebook users. Information gathered during this time includes name, DOB, location, job, workplace location and education. Anything linked to the “like” button was also accessible.

Brexit Cheating May Have Been an Outcome

It wasn’t just the U.S. presidential election that may have been affected by the latest privacy upset revolving around Facebook. Wylie has also suggested that Brexit could have been affected as well. He explained that it’s possible data collected via Facebook could have been used to manipulate the way that voters cast their vote. Vote Leave was able to see the same data being used throughout the more recent Trump campaign, making it possible for them to use it to their advantage. Cambridge Analytica has since rebutted the accusation, stating that they had no part in the referendum.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, is requested to testify regarding Facebook’s part in the scandal, but the company has decided to send CPO Chris Cox or CTO Mike Schroepfer instead. Zuckerberg has been urged to testify for the company, even if he is only available via video, but the CEO reportedly refused. Since the scandal went viral, Facebook has changed the structure of its privacy settings, but has yet to alter the privacy policy to avoid future data manipulation.

Facebook Might be Listening

The data leak isn’t the only scandal that the social media giant is facing these days. Reports that Facebook could be listening through your mobile device speakers and loading ads accordingly have come to light, making the public fear for their privacy once again. Allegedly, applications gain access to mobile microphones and then “listen in” to private information. Whether this is true or not has yet to be confirmed.

Facebook Loses Face and Users

The Facebook scandal has caused such an uproar online that it has its own hashtag following the fallout. #DeleteFacebook is gaining momentum as several actors and other celebrities make the choice to delete their accounts and their interest in the company. Jim Carrey was one of the first to pick up on this trend, deleting and selling his Facebook stock back in February. He tweeted about the choice to delete, stating that it was due to the Russian connection to the data leak. Will Ferrell is among the celebs leaving the world of social media as well. He explained to his followers that he would soon be deleting his account due to the possible connection between Facebook and the alleged manipulation of the elections. Playboy, Cher, and Elon Musk are also part of the #DeleteFacebook movement for similar reasons.

Putting A Halt to Future Plans

For some time, Facebook had been on the climb in terms of advertising, ecommerce. However, the fall in favor has put a halt to some of this growth, specifically Facebook’s foray the world of the smart speaker.

May brings with it the arrival of the F8 developer conference and the announcement of several new tech projects, software, and upgrades to current products. Facebook has decided against unveiling their new smart speaker because of the uproar caused over the data leak currently circulating the web. The smart speaker was meant to rival Google Home and Amazon Echo (Alexa), but consumers won’t be able to compare for some time.

The concept of the smart speaker by Google may pose questions to the consumer public regarding the safety of the information in their homes. With the possibility that Facebook is stealing snippets of audio information through speakers in mobile devices, the fear that a smart speaker could be spying on households across America has struck a nerve. Unfortunately for Facebook, it could mean a spike in sales for competitors as the market continues to shift out of favor for this social network giant.

Facebook still has billions of users updating their accounts regularly, but it’s plain to see the company is in a bit of trouble. Will things even out in the coming weeks or is Facebook in for a swift defeat? Only time will tell.