Major shareholders of Facebook have proposed removing Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg as chairman following several high-profile scandals. Controversies have hurt the reputation of the world's largest social media network and after each gaffe Zuckerberg has apologised publicly. Here are some of his biggest mistakes of the past.
Largest-ever data theft, Sept 2018
Facebook could not protect the data of 30 million users.
30m accounts were affected in a data breach. The company said hackers were able to access personal information for almost half of those accounts. This included name, relationship status, religion, birthdate, workplaces, search activity, and recent location check-ins. For 14m, the attackers were also able to steal all the other data available on members' profile pages. One million victims were lucky enough to get away without any information being stolen.
Cambridge Analytica scandal, March 2018
"We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you." -Mark Zuckerberg. After five days of silence, Zuckerberg finally acknowledged the reports that Cambridge Analytica, a London-based firm with ties to the Trump campaign, misused its data, and it failed to protect its users. It was revealed Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal data of millions of people's Facebook profiles without their consent and used it for political purposes. Facebook had earlier refused to comment on the story other than to say it was investigating.
Spread of fake news, 2014
It was in 2014, that Russians working for a firm called the Internet Research Agency started gathering American followers in online groups focused on issues like religion and immigration. They were targeting users on Facebook and Instagram. Around mid-2015, the Russians began buying digital ads to spread their messages. A year later, they tapped their followers to help organize political rallies across the United States and influence the US elections. Facebook had unwittingly played a key role in the Russian campaign to disrupt US elections.
The Graph Search, Jan 2013
When Facebook rolled out the new tool called Graph Search little did it know it would cause privacy concerns among users. The problem was it allowed people to unearth any information a user hadn't pro-actively protected. Days later, one of Facebook's chief privacy officers responded to the concerns and the privacy settings were tweaked to pacify the critics.
Deceptive Privacy Claims, November 2011
The Federal Trade Commission filed an eight-point complaint against Facebook saying it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowed it to be shared and made public. The proposed settlement barred Facebook from making any further deceptive privacy claims, required that the company get consumers' approval before it changed the way it shared their data, and required that it obtain periodic assessments of its privacy practices by independent auditors. Zuckerberg acknowledged the mistake, then offered up a list of new tools Facebook had made available to help users control their privacy and announced he'd have two chief privacy officers instead of one.
Privacy loophole, May 2010
It was revealed that advertisers were using a privacy loophole to retrieve revealing personal information, like users' names, from Facebook . The platform quickly made a change to its software to get rid of the identifying code, and a few days later, announced plans to redesign its privacy settings.
Advertising product, Beacon, December 2007
It was a targeted ad platform that enraged users as Facebook used their information which it got from third-party sites also to target them. As a result of complaints, Beacon was made opt-in. Facebook shut down Beacon in 2009.