Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

The latest on Facebook’s data scandal: Zuckerberg speaks, lawsuits, and ignored whistleblowers

And all the while the firm’s CEO remains hugely conspicuous by his absence.

Backstory: In case you missed it, Facebook is embroiled in a huge scandal because of the way its users’ data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, a firm that provided data to the Trump election campaign in 2016.

Overlooked whistleblowers: Ex-Facebook staffer Sandy Parakilas told British politicians today that his warnings about the firm’s lax data protection standards were ignored, and that some of the executives he told still work at the social network. To this point, today’s Bloomberg Businessweek cover story makes a compelling argument: maybe we need a Data Protection Agency?

The legal backlash begins: It was only a matter of time, but the first legal complaints against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have now been filed. Expect more to follow in the coming days.

#DeleteFacebook: Brian Acton, the cofounder of WhatsApp (who made billions by selling his startup to, ahem, Facebook in 2014), has been a very vocal part of a campaign urging people to quit the social network. “It is time. #deletefacebook,” he tweeted. (Or you could manipulate Facebook instead of letting it manipulate you.)

Where’s Zuck? The CEO was a no-show at a staff meeting yesterday. The Daily Beast  says he’s “working around the clock.” The American and British governments want him to give evidence, but he sent “mid-level staffers” to testify to Congress today.

Here’s Zuck!  Late Wednesday afternoon Mark Zuckerberg issued a long apology on his Facebook page (naturally), giving a timeline of events from Facebook's point of view and plans to investigate data access for outside developers. 

Lots to lose: Media analysts say that Facebook has made a huge mess of handling the situation so far. (See: the firm’s stock price.) 

Is it different this time? Every Facebook scandal feels like the one that’s going to bring about radical change, but it hasn’t—yet. Gadfly proposes that Facebook is bigger, and lawmakers more suspicious, than ever this time, so it could be different. But that’s a very big “could.”

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI

The tool, called Nightshade, messes up training data in ways that could cause serious damage to image-generating AI models. 

The Biggest Questions: What is death?

New neuroscience is challenging our understanding of the dying process—bringing opportunities for the living.

Rogue superintelligence and merging with machines: Inside the mind of OpenAI’s chief scientist

An exclusive conversation with Ilya Sutskever on his fears for the future of AI and why they’ve made him change the focus of his life’s work.

How to fix the internet

If we want online discourse to improve, we need to move beyond the big platforms.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.