What the Cambridge Analytica Data Breach Cost Facebook

On account of the fall-out from the recently exposed Cambridge Analytica data breach, Facebook has lost nearly $60 billion of its total market value since Monday, 19 March, Bloomberg reported.

According to ACE Equity, (as on 19 March), the tech giant’s loss pegged at 3.8 lakh crores accounts for more than the market capitalization of Indian companies and banks.

Facebook lost 60 percent of Tata Consultancy Services, India's highest-valued listed company, the market capitalisation of which stands at $83.8 billion, Money Control reported. According to ACE equity, this is more than the individual market capitalisation of State Bank of India (2.14), Kotak Mahindra Bank (2), Infosys (2.51) in lakh crores.

According to Bloomberg, the loss is more than the individual market capitalization of Tesla Inc at around $52 billion or three times that of Snapchat owner’s net worth capped at $57 billion.

The slump in shares by over 10 percent was a result of the revelation that the British data consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly accessed information from about 50 million Facebook users without their consent and used it for its 2016 US presidential election work.

The investigation conducted by Britain's Channel 4 News exposed how senior executives at Cambridge Analytica were caught on camera suggesting that the firm could use sex workers, bribes and misinformation as baits to help political candidates garner votes around the world.

According to IANS, Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan and his company Global Science Research created an app called "thisisyourdigitallife" in 2014. The users were paid to take a psychological test and the app collected the data. It also gathered data on a person's Facebook friends.

Kogan admitted to harvesting the personal details of 30 million Facebook users via the app. He was quoted by the Guardian as saying that he passed the data to Cambridge Analytica who assured him this was legal, IANS reported.

Whistleblower Christopher Wylie revealed to The New York Times and The Observer that Kogan along with the firm subsequently created a software solution to help influence choices in elections.

Admitting that Facebook had made a mistake in the Cambridge Analytica situation, Zuckerberg said that the most important steps to prevent a similar situation from repeating had already been taken years ago.

(With inputs from Bloomberg, Money Control , IANS)

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