Facebook is already under fire for sharing the personal information of their users with third parties. Conservative publishers are also concerned about Facebook deciding for their users what type of news they will allow them to view in their newsfeed. Conservative sites like ours, have seen a drastic drop (as much as a 90% decrease) in traffic, after paying Facebook a small fortune to reach an audience who would “like” their pages, as a way to indicate to Facebook that they want to see their content. Those users are now either seeing an occasional post from their favorite conservative news sources or they are finding they are no longer able to see them at all in their newsfeed.
Facebook has asked several major U.S. hospitals to share anonymized data about their patients, such as illnesses and prescription info, for a proposed research project. Facebook was intending to match it up with user data it had collected, and help the hospitals figure out which patients might need special care or treatment.
The proposal never went past the planning phases and has been put on pause after the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal raised public concerns over how Facebook and others collect and use detailed information about Facebook users.
“This work has not progressed past the planning phase, and we have not received, shared, or analyzed anyone’s data,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC.
But as recently as last month, the company was talking to several health organizations, including Stanford Medical School and American College of Cardiology, about signing the data-sharing agreement.
While the data shared would obscure personally identifiable information, such as the patient’s name, Facebook proposed using a common computer science technique called “hashing” to match individuals who existed in both sets. Facebook says the data would have been used only for research conducted by the medical community.
According to the Daily Mail, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sandberg have been making the rounds in recent days to discuss what steps the firm is taking to regain users’ trust and prevent data from being misused in the future.
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which revealed at least 87 million members’ data had been harvested without their knowledge, more and more users have been rushing to protect their personal information.
Sandberg said Facebook is continuing to conduct an internal investigation into how Cambridge Analytica obtained the data.
In the process of the audit, she warned that more damaging information could be uncovered.
The project could have raised new concerns about the massive amount of data Facebook collects about its users, and how this data can be used in ways users never expected.
That issue has been in the spotlight after reports that Cambridge Analytica, a political research organization that did work for Donald Trump, improperly got ahold of detailed information about Facebook users without their permission. It then tried to use this data to target political ads to them.
Facebook said on Wednesday that as many as 87 million people’s data might have been shared this way. The company has recently announced new privacy policies and controls meant to restrict the type of data it collects and shares, and how that data can be used. –CNBC