A recent interview with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and CTO Mike Schroepfer shed more light into the Cambridge Analytica scandal that resulted in the data of 87 million Facebook profiles being shared without authorization. According to a majority of what was said at the conference Facebook didn’t even see it coming. This inference comes from this quote from Sandberg, “If you go back to 2016 and you think about what people were worried about in terms of nations, states or election security, it was largely spam and phishing hacking. That’s what people were worried about.” She also moved to mention the hot topic of 2016 being Sony’s devastating email hack and how Facebook felt secure and well-guarded at that time ,being focused on preventing attacks like Sony’s, resulting in the current scandal flying under their radar. Sandberg reiterated this multiple times, stating that “We were focused on the old threat” and “… we didn’t see the new threat coming.”
Sandberg’s statements bring new worries to the table, as it looks like Facebook may only be able to focus and secure one avenue at a time with the way she described the situation . It brings up the question of if Facebook can only focus on one threat at a time. Will there now be a different major data breach caused by spam or phishing because of Facebook’s shifted focus to data harvesting? It could go either way, Facebook may build its credibility again by showing it can secure itself on multiple fronts, or it could be too focused on the current scandal and have a new one erupt.
Sandberg had also mentioned that Facebook still doesn’t have a grasp on what kind of data was harvested by Cambridge Analytica. Another controversy may spawn with this statement as it is hard to believe a tech juggernaut such as Facebook still cannot put a definite idea on what the harvested data was used for. Is it possible that Facebook may have even collaborated with Cambridge Analytica and is trying to claim that this all happened because of oversight? Luckily, Facebook is in the middle of multiple audits, from themselves and countries such as the UK, so these answers will be revealed and more will be learned about the scandal over time, which may spell a disaster or a blessing for the company.