Facebook’s stock plummeted again on Tuesday as the row over how Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, obtained the data of 51 million users by harvesting profiles on the social network without their knowledge.
The social network’s stock opened on the NASDAQ at $167.47 on Tuesday marking a decrease of 2.8% since Monday’s close.
It climbed back up to $170 on Tuesday throughout trading but closed at 4pm at $168.15 after dropping as low as $162 per share during the day, its lowest in 2018.
Zuckerberg’s own stocks – of which there are 400 million – fell by $6billion in market value as a result of the scandal, dropping from $74billion to $68billion.
Until Friday, Facebook’s shares were worth $185.09 each. The company is valued at $488 billion.
That changed dramatically with the revelation that it had suspended Cambridge Analytica, the data firm used by Trump’s campaign during the election and which has been linked to Brexit, on Friday night over alleged malpractice.
Facebook claims the company stored data user profiles that it obtained improperly after promising to destroy it in 2015.
In its announcement, Facebook said that the data of 270,000 profiles had been compromised when they were sold to Cambridge Analytica by another research company which had an app in the site.
A whistleblower who worked for Cambridge Analytica has since put that number at 51million, sparking global outrage.
While Facebook claims it too was duped and that it has been trying to claw the data back since 2015, angry users are questioning whether or not they can trust the service at all when it allows researchers to gather such huge vaults of information about them in the first place.
Facebook’s stock closed at $168.15 on Tuesday, a drop of 2.5% since the morning, as the company continued to suffer on Wall Street as a result of the scandal involving the data firm Cambridge Analytica
On Monday, Zuckerberg’s own shares dropped in value by $6billion as a result of the scandal. He now faces calls to reveal how the company was able to gain so much information
Cambridge Analytica was given the data by Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge professor who obtained it through an app called This Is Your Digital Life.
The app asked Facebook users for their online preferences and habits and users submitted their information willingly but did not know it would be handed over to a third party – namely Cambridge Analytica.
The entire company is outraged we were deceived. We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information and will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens
270,000 is the number of people who agreed to share their information when they took a personality test on This Is Your Digital Life.
According to Christopher Wiley, a Cambridge Analytica former staffer who spoke to The Guardian, the service however harvested information from their friends’ profiles too, leading to the much larger harvest of 51million.
In 2014, Cambridge Analytica paid $1million for the information Kogan had amassed through his tests.
They claim they destroyed it the following year once Facebook found out and that none was used to influence Trump’s campaign or any other political causes but former staffers, critics and authorities in both the UK and US are skeptical.
Wylie, who said he he was speaking out to ‘take responsibility’ for his role in the organization which he now considers unethical, said this of it: ‘If you’re trying to influence an American election, that’s a one-stop shop.’
Facebook insists that it was unaware Kogan had sold the data to Cambridge Analytica until 2015 and that it has been working vigorously to have it all destroyed since.
Their admission on Friday that it may not all be gone has stoked fear among its billions of users.
In a statement on Tuesday, Facebook said ‘the entire company was outraged’ and that it has been deceived just like the users whose information was taken.
‘Mark, Sheryl and their teams are working around the clock to get all the facts and take the appropriate action moving forward, because they understand the seriousness of this issue.
Cambridge Analytica’s CEO Alexander Nix was suspended after controversial comments he made to journalists boasting about the company’s work in elections were unearthed this week
Protesters flooded the company’s London HQ on Tuesday to leave posters demanding Nix’s prosecution
‘The entire company is outraged we were deceived. We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information and will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens,’ a spokesman said.
Zuckerberg himself has not spoken publicly about the scandal.
Cambridge Analytica strongly denies the accusations and insists it has always complied with the website’s policies.
Its bosses also emphasize that none of the data they received from the profiles was ever used for the Trump campaign.
The row has upset officials in both the US and UK and caused problems for both sides.
In Washington, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is demanding to know exactly what Cambridge Analytica harvested and gave to the Trump campaign as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the election.
It follows his indictment against 13 Russian nationals who operated fake Facebook profiles and posed as grass roots organizations to promote Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Prosecutors in both New York and Massachusetts have also launched an investigation into the company.
‘Consumers have a right to know how their information is used — and companies like Facebook have a fundamental responsibility to protect their users’ personal information,’ New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement Tuesday.
In London, UK authorities are seeking a search warrant for Cambridge Analytica’s British HQ.
In Washington, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is eager to know exactly what the company knew and how any of it shaped the Trump campaign as part of his probe into Russian interference in the election
Christopher Wylie, (left) who describes himself as one of the company’s co-founders turned whistleblowers, has revealed how Cambridge Analytica paid $1million for the data of 51 million Facebook users which had been harvested through a personality quiz called This Is Your Digital Life. It was founded by Aleksandr Kogan (right) who sold the information to Cambridge Analytica
They are concerned over claims its ousted CEO Alexander Nix offered millions of pounds in illegal support from US donors to one of the smaller Leave campaigns during Brexit.
Nix, who has been caught on tape boasting about the company’s reach and how it it had worked on hundreds of elections around the world, has been suspended and Facebook’s head of security,Alex Stamos, has also left his role.
His departure was over the handling of ‘fake news’ – something which the site was permeated with during the election as the result of Russian bots generating false articles to try to sway the outcome.
Amid all this comes criticism of the notoriously liberal Zuckerberg who critics have accused of allowing the same practice that Cambridge Analytica is accused of when it is designed to benefit Democrats, but cracking down on what is allowed on the site if it ultimately serves a Republican agenda.
Hypocrisy: Carol Davidsen, (left) who worked as the media director at Obama for America, claims Facebook allowed them to mine American users’ profiles in 2012 because they were supportive of the Democrats
The row spawned the hashtag ‘Delete Facebook’ among users who say they can no longer trust the site
This suspicion was all but confirmed by Obama’s 2012 campaign media director Carol Davidsen who revealed this week that they were allowed to access user data to help their campaign.
‘Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing.
‘They came to office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side,’ she tweeted.
On top of this, users are anxious about how data firms can gain access to their information.
The hashtag ‘DeleteFacebook’ has emerged and is growing in popularity among people who say Kogan should never have been able to get the vast amount of information that he did in the first place.
Users are vowing en mass to abandon the site, claiming it has given up on what its users want to favor targeted ads and snooping companies instead.
Zuckerberg now faces calls to testify in Washington and Westminster over how the company was able to gain access to so much data in one sweep.