Another Facebook data breach: What does this mean for users?

Most social media users are concerned about privacy, and these concerns surfaced once again over the last few weeks when Facebook announced it had experienced its biggest data breach in history.

What happened?

On September 28, Facebook announced cyber attackers gained full access to around 50 million Facebook accounts. A further 40 million accounts were deemed “at risk”. Around 300,000 Australians are thought to have been part of those numbers. In response, Facebook logged these 90 million users out of their accounts and asked them to log back in, with a notification of the breach appearing on their newsfeeds.

On October 12, Facebook announced that it was in fact only 29 million users who were directly affected. Of these 29 million, the attackers took profile information from 14 million users, including birth dates, employers, education history, religious preference, types of devices used, pages followed and recent searches and location check-ins. The remaining 15 million users could be considered lucky, with their data breach restricted to name and contact details.

The social media giant claims it doesn’t know who the attackers were nor what their motivation was. The breach was a result of three vulnerabilities in the app being exploited simultaneously to allow the hackers access to accounts. 

For the biggest data breach in history, there doesn’t seem to be as much discussion about it as would be expected. Could it be that we’re becoming used to it? Perhaps it’s the ‘that won’t happen to me’ mentality that subsides a big reaction.

Or as CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan put it: “I think we all have data breach fatigue.”

Even Googling ‘Facebook data scandal’ churns out article after article about the data breach from March this year, rather than what’s described as the biggest data breach in history.

Previous data-breach cases

One of the most notable cases of data breaching happened in March 2018. The Guardian reported that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that “uses data to change audience behaviour”, had harvested the personal data of more than 87 million Facebook users.

Most of the controversy surrounds Cambridge Analytica’s use of the data to influence voter behaviour in the 2016 election, likely helping Trump become president and also impacting the Brexit.

The data was breached via the personality quiz app ‘thisisyourdigitallife’. Users consented for the app to collect their data when they took the quiz, but they did not consent for information to be collected from each of their Facebook friends, which is what ultimately occurred. So, of the 87 million people involved, only 270,000 people used the app. Furthermore, data of 300,000 Australians was also collected from the 52 users who allegedly used the app.

Do users even care?

#DeleteFacebook began trending on Twitter during the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, urging users to take a stand.

But the number of Facebook users remains steady, despite a survey following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and before the latest data scandal revealing that 81 percent of users have little to no confidence in Facebook protecting their data and privacy.

Even with all the security breaches, Facebook is a communication tool providing too much convenience for many to delete.

Impact on marketers

The data breaches – whether by hackers or third-party apps – have diminished the trust between consumers and marketers in most cases, resulting in users sharing less private information. This will make it harder for marketers to establish targeted ads, resulting in an increased cost to improve reach to relevant audiences. To establish (or re-establish) trust with consumers, it’s essential for marketers and advertisers to show transparency and accountability.

Are you safe?

To find out if your account has been breached, go to the Facebook Help Centre and access an article about Facebook’s recent security incident. If you scroll to the bottom, there is a message stating “Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?”. Here, you will find the answer regarding the status of your account.

So, what now? Do we log out of our accounts and call it a day?

It may not be that simple. Facebook has become so engrained in our culture that it’s almost impossible to delete. It has become a necessary platform to keep in touch with friends and family, used for work, education, and general engagement with the wider community. From organising events, sending group messages, to sharing thoughts, arguments and memories –  these simple conveniences are few of the reasons that make users turn a blind eye.

Tracy Fitzgerald Named One of Australia’s Most Influential Women in Native Advertising!

Our MD Tracy Fitzgerald has been named one of the top 100 Most Significant Women in Native Advertising in Australia for 2018! Read below to find out more about women who are raising the bar for native advertising.

This blog was produced by The Native Advertising Institute.

“It excites me that the industry include so many savvy and influential women.”

One of the perks of being ‘the Co-Captainess’ of the Native Advertising Institute (NAI) is that I get to (e)meet and connect with so many amazing native advertising professionals from all over the world. Not only is the discipline on the rise, but so is the pool of talented professionals that we can look to for inspiration and guidance. This genuinely excites me. A lot.

It also excites me that the industry include so many savvy and influential women.

That excitement, combined with my general love for networking, has now resulted in a somewhat extensive list of 100 women who are raising the bar for native advertising.

Since today is International Women’s Day, it seems very appropriate to share this list of ‘badass’ women out into the digital stratosphere.

“You may find names on the list that you already know, but I bet that you’ll also stumble upon new exceptional women that you ought to know and/or learn from.”

I believe that the list could be as valuable and inspirational to you as it has been to me, whether you are looking to extend your native advertising network, find relevant people to follow on social media, or you are curating speakers for conferences with native advertising on the agenda

The ladies included on the list are all true, beacons of light. Some are accomplished and seasoned marketers, and some are rising stars. What they all have in common though is, that they collectively make the global native advertising industry sparkle.

You may find names on the list that you already know, but I bet that you’ll also stumble upon new exceptional women that you ought to know and/or learn from.

I hope you’ll see this list for what it is: a first draft of a most relevant industry list, with plenty of room to acknowledge more amazing female native advertising professionals for their work. If you would like to shine light on a top native advertising professional that also happens to be female, please reach out, drop a comment or tag that person.

Important Note: The list is sorted alphabetically (thanks to the a-z function in excel) and is NOT listed in any particular order that suggests rankings or seniority.

From the new to the known, these 100 women are all true pioneers.

Podcast: Tracy Fitzgerald Talks Entrepreneurship on “Future of Australia”

Want to learn more about the back story behind Brandalism? Our MD Tracy Fitzgerald shares her insight on “Entrepreneurship & Maximising Your Marketing Dollars” in the latest podcast by Future of Australia! Check it out!

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