2.23 billion monthly active users on Facebook as of June 30, 2018, the rise of this social networking giant has been truly spectacular. Things however have taken an ugly turn for Facebook ever since the world got to know of the
Cambridge Analytica Scandal involving data breach of its users. And it has gotten worse with each passing day.
The latest scandal to hit Facebook is a data breach involving
50 million user accounts. Yes, you heard that right! Hackers momentarily managed to gain access to that many accounts, thereby posing a serious question on the security measures in place at the social network.
Facebook’s Guy Rosen, VP of Product Management through a blog post and CEO Mark Zuckerberg via a Facebook post have clarified that they have patched the vulnerability. Here are snippets of what Mark had to say on this recent controversy:
What Went Wrong?
The latest breach involving 50 million accounts was discovered on September 25 by the Engineering team at Facebook. Attackers managed to exploit a
vulnerability in the “View As” feature that shows how a person’s profile will look when viewed by others. Access Tokens (that keep people logged into Facebook) were stolen by breaching this vulnerability.
Facebook has now reset the Access Tokens for all the 50 million accounts that were affected and in addition another 40 million accounts that have accessed this feature in the last year, as a precautionary step. They have also temporarily disabled the feature till a full internal investigation is complete.
The Road Ahead
While we all appreciate how Facebook is responding after each of these data breaches and instead of brushing the issues under the carpet, they are taking ownership and putting measures in place to plug the gaps. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has himself faced the heat in a recent U.S. Congressional hearing where he said,
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
What’s worrying everyone is that instead of adopting a reactionary approach to such breaches, Facebook has not managed to be on top of things when it comes to preventing these data breaches in the first place.
A recent example of this is how even after the August 2018 exit of Facebook CSO Alex Stamos, the company has still not managed to appoint someone in this all-important role. Alex’s exit when looked in conjunction with other key departures in Elliot Schrage who was heading policy and comms, Colin Stretch who was the Chief Legal Officer, the exit of Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp and the most recent
exit of Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger, hints that Zuckerberg is clearly finding it difficult to keep the flock together.
The writing is on the wall for Facebook:
No Ship is too big to Sink!
Facebook needs to bring its house in order and do it fast. If it continues to operate this way, it will draw the ire of regulators the world over and meet the unfortunate fate of RMS Titanic.