Rabat - It has been a tough week for the social networking giant Facebook. The market value of the company has dropped by almost USD 58 billion within the span of one week, after news spread that it failed to maintain user data privacy, allowing the firm Cambridge Analytica to siphon the personal data of over 50 million users.
In the past week, Facebook came under fire after its involvement in one of the “largest data breaches of personal information.” International media outlets reported that Cambridge Analytica (CA), a data firm associated with Donald Trump’s election campaign, had managed to extract data for about 50 million Facebook users, allowing it to create targeted and psychologically verified advertising content.
When the news of Cambridge Analytica data scandal came to light, the social media giant went quiet for several days, until the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, commented in a very “late apology” on the company’s attitude regarding its users’ data privacy.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg wrote.
He noted that the company has already changed some of the policies that served to enable the breach, adding that, “we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.”
Even though the company’s founder apologised for the mistake, Facebook seems to have lost the trust of not only its users but also advertisers and key shareholders who have continued to sell shares of the company whose market value plummeted by USD 58 billion within a week.
The company’s latest market value became known on Saturday night. Share value in the company dropped from $176.80 on Monday to around $159.30 by Friday night.
“This truly is a “damaging episode” in Facebook’s history,” BBC quoted senior analyst Laith Khalaf as saying.
“One of the secrets of Facebook’s success has been that the more people who use Facebook, the more integral it becomes to its customers. Unfortunately for Facebook, the same dynamic cuts in the opposite direction if it loses a meaningful number of users as a result of this scandal,” Khalaf added.
On Wednesday, March 21, advertising on Facebook was suspended by Mozilla and Commerzbank. Later, the official Facebook accounts of SpaceX and Tesla were also removed, likely by CEO and founder Elon Musk.
The data leakage scandal also drove many angry users to launch a #DeleteFacebook campaign on Twitter, which helped cause Facebook’s shares to nosedive.