Mozilla pulls Facebook advertising after Cambridge Analytica scandal

The browser maker takes issue with Facebook's default privacy settings.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Browser maker Mozilla said it's temporarily pulling advertising from Facebook over the controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm that harvested and misused data from Facebook users to the potential benefit of the Trump presidential campaign.

In a blog post announcing decision, Mozilla's chief business and legal officer Denelle Dixon acknowledged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's promise to limit developer access to data, but the company still takes issue with Facebook's default privacy settings.

"While we believe there is still more to learn, we found that its current default settings leave access open to a lot of data -- particularly with respect to settings for third party apps," Dixon wrote.

"We are encouraged that Mark Zuckerberg has promised to improve the privacy settings and make them more protective. When Facebook takes stronger action in how it shares customer data, specifically strengthening its default privacy settings for third party apps, we'll consider returning."

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News broke last week that Cambridge Analytica used private information from 50 million Facebook profiles to determine who voters might choose at the ballot box. The running theory is that the data played a significant role in Donald Trump's presidential election win.

Earlier this week, Facebook said it had hired an independent auditor to audit both Aleksandr Kogan -- the Russian-American researcher and lecturer at the University of Cambridge behind the personality prediction app that harvested Facebook user data -- and Cambridge Analytica.

Last week, Facebook's general counsel refrained from calling the incident a "data breach." However, Zuckerberg's statement on Wednesday referred to the incident as a "breach of trust."

"This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook," he wrote. "But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that."


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