Facebook Stock Plummets after Data-Breach Revelations

(Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Facebook shares were down almost eight points at noon Monday after a Friday report revealed that a Trump-linked analytics firm improperly obtained the personal data of tens of millions of users.

The massive $15-per-share drop, which represents a roughly $43 billion loss in market capital, comes just three days after the Observer revealed that a Cambridge University professor accessed the data of more than 50 million Facebook users by creating a data-mining survey, which exposed the personal information of the 270,000 respondents as well as their unwitting friends.

Facebook confirmed that the professor, Aleksandr Kogan, obtained the data entirely in accordance with the site’s guidelines; his only violation was sharing it with Cambridge Analytica, which was founded by Breitbart executive Steve Bannon and Hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer.

Facebook’s apparent inability to prevent user data from falling into the hands of a third-party organization once obtained by a seemingly benign actor prompted widespread criticism. The social-media giant learned Kogan had shared the data with Cambridge Analytica in 2015. At the time, Cambridge Analytica offered assurances that all of the data had been deleted, but Facebook has admitted that it recently learned that wasn’t the case.

The scale of the breach coupled with Facebook’s lack of awareness bolstered calls for regulation on Capitol Hill.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) responded to the report by demanding that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg appear in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain “what Facebook knew about misusing data from 50 million Americans in order to target political advertising and manipulate voters.”

Zuckerberg has not yet addressed the revelations; the firm’s only response was issued by its deputy general counsel, Paul Grewal, in a statement Sunday.

“Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do,” Grewal said. “We are conducting a comprehensive internal and external review and are working to determine the accuracy of the claims that the Facebook data in question still exists. That is where our focus lies as we remain committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information.”

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