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 For more information, please go through previous assignment on Marketing Project Report of which you have done a report called ” Facebook Data Scandal” which u will also find as an attached file as well as a file on the present assignment to be done. Thank you. 

Task: Provide a critical self-reflection essay of the process of completing your previous assignment on Marketing Project Report ( Topic: Facebook Data Scandal).

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For completing this Task successfully, you must summarize all your academic knowledge and professional benefits you received while critically analysed the case study/company selected including strategic implications and strategic business issues, during the development of summative assignment on Marketing Project Report ( Topic: Facebook Data Scandal).

Learning outcomes applied in this assessment (LO):

1. Develop a critical understanding of major concepts, frameworks, and methods in marketing and corporate social responsibility, and assess their application in the business environment, including brand value. (IC) (SID) (EID)

4. Critically evaluate marketing strategies, including digital marketing solutions – in different business contexts, and address their implications including ethical issues, and reflect on the significance of key historical events. (IC) (DP) (SID) (CID) (CC)

6. Critically assess currently implemented corporate social responsibility solutions and recognise the links between the adoption of certain solutions and the performance of business operations. (IC) (SID) (CID) (CC)9. Collect, analyze and synthesize data; and take a problem-solving approach to strategic thinking, and creativity.

7. Adopt a persuasive argumentation, and present it in verbal or written communication. (UGB) (EID)

ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES

Produce a 3000-word marketing project report (+/- 10%) (excluding the list of references). Times New Roman size 12 font, double spaced

Introduction (250 words):

General background on the topic you are going to discuss. Possible definitions for terms relating to the question. What the essay will include and/or leave out (scope). What themes the essay will discuss and the order they are presented. What the essay will argue / demonstrate (thesis statement). 10 points

Main Body (2,450 words):

Summarize all your academic knowledge and professional benefits you received while critically analysed the case study/company selected including strategic implications and strategic business issues, during the development of summative assignment on Marketing Project Report ( Topic: Facebook Data Scandal).

In doing so: – Critically reflect on your personal learning experience – Make effective use of relevant literature (but not extensive) – Provide your own argument and show evidences of critical thinking. 60 points

Conclusions (300 words):

Links back to the themes identified in the introduction. A reminder of what the essay has argued. A recap of the main themes that have been discussed. 15 points

Formatting and Referencing (list of references not principles of academic writing included in word count): High quality presentation of the material that conforms to and contains minimal errors in sentence construction, grammar and punctuation. The assignment followed appropriate academic conventions regarding in-text citations and referencing. 15 points

1

FACEBOOK DATA SCANDAL

Name:

Course Code and Name:

Institutional Affiliation:

Date:

Table of Contents Introduction 3 What should have been done before the Crisis? 4 What could have been done after the Scandal? 6 Work and Service provided by Cambridge Analytica to Trump’s Campaign 7 Facebook’s Ethical Challenges 10 Conclusion 12 References 14

Introduction

The Cambridge Analytica scandal with Facebook was reported by the New York Times and the Guardian in March 2018. In the scandal, over 50 million Facebook profiles were compromised and illegally utilized by Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica is a political consulting firm that was in charge of the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign. During this campaign period, Facebook made a mistake and authorized third party users to use its data for what they termed as academic research. The company Cambridge Analytica was to use the data given by Facebook for academic research (Isaak & Hanna, 2018). However, they used the data to help in the campaign for former president Donald Trump.

The crisis developed a claim on the use of Facebook data and the eligibility of privacy for Facebook users. This raised ethical concerns as there was improper use of Facebook’s data for political gains. The improper use of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica gave rise to a massive ethical dilemma since the Facebook users did not approve of their data been used. Facebook is among one of the largest media multinational companies globally. Facebook parents social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. By the time the crisis was taking place in 2018, Facebook had an estimated population of 2.38 billion users, which is a third of the total world’s population.

Cambridge Analytica was registered as a political consulting firm. The company specialized in data analysis and mining. The 2016 United States presidential election was one of the most crucial elections I the history of the United States. Cambridge Analytica was hired by Trump to help in data analysis during the elections. The company requested for data from Facebook for personal user accounts. Instead if the intended use of the data for academic research, Cambridge used this data to formulate and send certain type of advertisements to a specified target group (Isaak & Hanna, 2018). Some of the Facebook users could not view this adverts. They were only viewed by the selected group. This Facebook scandal of mishandling Facebook data was termed unethical. Facebook took less regulatory actions on its data use and Cambridge Analytica broke the code of Facebook’s data guidelines. This case study is important to break the monopoly of data use that Facebook has over its users’ data. This paper will examine the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data scandal and its impacts on technology.

What should have been done before the Crisis?

The 2018 Cambridge Analytica crisis led to mining of data from 50 million Facebook users. While the company suggested that the data was to be used for academic research, this was not the case. The data was intended to be used for political gains to push the Donald Trump campaign for presidency. According to the whistle blower of the scandal, the data acquired was used to develop psychographic profiles of Facebook users and to deliver pro-Trump campaign material to these profiles online (Kozlowska, 2018). Facebook has however denied that none of its data was used for such a scenario. Over the years, the United States and United Kingdom governments have been pursuant over the matter for Facebook to submit the data. This has however been unsuccessful as there is no evidence for the case. For Facebook to evade this case, a number of things should have been done.

i. Maintaining users’ privacy. Just as stated in Facebook terms and conditions, the privacy of users is paramount. For any social media platform, the privacy of the users is put at hand and considered crucial. When users sign up for social media accounts such as Facebook, they are assured of the privacy of their data. This data includes their personal information on their names, address, jobs, social status, likes and dislikes. From such data, it was possible for Cambridge Analytica to form a target group (Kozlowska, 2018). This then gave the company a chance to send targeted messages filtered for the specific group. If Facebook had maintained their privacy policy of keeping users’ data private and confidential, then such personal data would not have been exposed to third party handlers. Facebook would have avoided such a scandal that put it into controversy in the limelight.

ii. Investing in cybersecurity research. Prior the scandal, Facebook braved itself as a big enthusiast of cyber security. Through its USENIX security symposium, Facebook awarded up to $200,000 in grants to cybersecurity researchers (Kozlowska, 2018). The company did not however strengthen its cybersecurity systems. Funding the cyber security researchers did not necessarily mean that Facebook’s cyber security was to notch. To avoid a scandal as the 2018 Cambridge Analytica crisis, Facebook should have ensured to implement cyber security techniques. This would ensure that any personal data from users cannot be used even through third party agreements.

iii. Prior analysis and getting more information on Cambridge Analytica. Before handing the data, or rather selling the data to Cambridge Analytica Company, Facebook’s management should have analyzed the company and get information on what the company does. Facebook should have had critical meetings to establish the intention of the company. Facebook should have also performed research on Cambridge Analytica and get more information concerning the company. This would have given Facebook an overview of the mission of Cambridge Analytica.

iv. Contractual agreement on data use with Cambridge Analytica. Facebook should have had a contractual agreement with Cambridge Analytica. In this agreement, Facebook should have stated their terms and conditions on use of the data. This would not let Cambridge Analytica mishandle Facebook data.

Cambridge Analytica should also have undertaken a series of serious agreements with Facebook. As the CEO of the company, Alex Nix should have ensured that Facebook data is not mishandled and is used for the intended purpose. Using the data for the academic use stated when acquiring the data would avoid the crisis. Maintaining a trustworthy relationship between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica would have been used to evade such a crisis. Most of the data was used for political gains. If Cambridge Analytica had maintained a trustworthy status, then it would not have used private data for political purposes. Instead, it would have first consulted with Facebook to get approval.

What could have been done after the Scandal?

After the scandal, Facebook was left in a position of bad reputation and a crisis with the united st5ates government. If at all Cambridge Analytica was an ethical body, it would have taken up the responsibility and confessed of its data mishandling. This would help clean up the air for Facebook to avoid Facebook been under the radar for unethical concerns. It would also be important for the CEO to hold meetings with Facebook and find a solution to the crisis. Having such a meeting would help Cambridge Analytica come into agreement terms with Facebook and also have a good reputation in the society. The company should take up a corporate social responsibility. Taking up corporate social responsibility will help the company create a good relationship with the society. This would be a form of covering up for its mistakes.

Cambridge Analytica should also focus on better marketing communication strategies. The strategy of using personal Facebook data in the 2018 United States elections brought up a crisis with Facebook. Therefore, the company should choose better ways for marketing and communication. These strategies should uphold moral culture and be ethical to the community (Kozlowska, 2018). Cambridge Analytica should also consider its marketing content. During the 2018 crisis, the company was accused of passing wrong information through Facebook advertisements (Kozlowska, 2018). The company also used these wrong information on a target group of Facebook users. This was a wrong move that broke the reputation of Facebook and that of Cambridge Analytica. Therefore, before conveying any information for marketing, the company should ensure that the information is true and conforms to the community guidelines. .

If all these factors discussed above are followed, the Cambridge Analytica company will regain its reputation in the society. Having a good reputation will also clear the bad reputation created for Facebook. A good reputation for the company will help create a good brand name. This will ensure that the company remains afloat in business and that it does not undergo losses from loss of customers. Cambridge Analytica should focus on brand awareness (Kozlowska, 2018). The CEO should ensure that the company engages in activities that place the company in a good position with the society as well as with its stakeholders. Therefore, Cambridge Analytica will be in a better position to undertake business activities and will retain its good relationship with Facebook.

Work and Service provided by Cambridge Analytica to Trump’s Campaign

The British data mining and analysis company Cambridge Analytica has been in the limelight since 2018 for its role in the 2016 trump’s election. The company through its access to personal Facebook data was able to data from 50 million user accounts as a strategy to target voters. There have been legal issues concerning how the company achieved the data. The company distanced itself from the presidential campaign of 2016 (Cadwalladr & Graham-Harrison, 2018). Since Facebook has not yet provided evidence to be used against Cambridge Analytica, it has become so hard for the government as well as humanitarian bodies to sue Cambridge Analytica. It is also hard to sue Facebook for mishandling of personal information.

The CEO, Nix in an interview with television 4 news report stated that his firm handled everything for the Trump campaign except the make great America great again caps. The company was responsible for all the data, analysis and research and the digital and television campaigns. Nix stated that the data from his company formed Trump’s campaign strategy. The company got involved in the foreign statute that prevented foreign involvement in the American elections. This law was made in 1996 by Bill Clinton when he refused to get millions of dollars from illegal donors.

The Cambridge Analytica sold data to the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign paid a total of $5.9 million to the company (Cadwalladr & Graham-Harrison, 2018). According to the federal election commission, the company provided the Trump campaign with data management and survey research. The estimates for the value of the data are high. If the data was sold at the market value, then it means that the Cambridge Analytica sold it for the contribution of the campaign. This was a violation of the law which bars foreign bodies from interfering with elections in the United States.

According to the CEO, Nix, the company treated the Trump’s campaign and the SuperPAC as a single project. Campaigns in the United States are supposed to be independent. However, this norm is only within the American politics. When two bodies cannot communicate clearly and effectively, they hire the same vendor. Cambridge Analytica also had other clients. The SuperPAC acted as decoy to the American presidential campaign (Cadwalladr & Graham-Harrison, 2018). The company actively participated in the mishandling of Facebook personal data for the 2016 presidential campaign. This was against community standards and against the agreement with Facebook.

Cambridge Analytica was responsible for misinformation of critical information to the American Facebook users. The company targeted a certain demographic data and presented them with false information in a bid to get votes for Donald Trump. This population was fed with wrong information that made the manifesto of Trump look sensible to them. Mostly, the highly targeted population consisted of the low class in the society. Having a large population of low class people in the country made it easier to acquire a target audience. This therefore was the basis of the Facebook scandal.

The company managed to give a fake manifesto to its targeted population. Illegally using data from Facebook users, the company ensured that the false manifesto and information that benefited Trump’s campaign was passed to the low class. Only those in the targeted population could view such advertisements in Facebook. Until to date, there are still debates as to whether the Cambridge Analytica impacted the 2016 United States elections (Cadwalladr & Graham-Harrison, 2018). Nothing has been proven yet but the justice department has a set of core prohibitions that wants to make prosecutions on campaign finances and foreign expenditures and contributions. This case could put Cambridge Analytica in the loop of the department of justice.

In my opinion, it was not right for the Cambridge Analytica to provide this work for Trump. It was unethical to use people’s data without consent. The company being a data driven center should have put data and analytics front and center in its business strategies. Data is vital for any decision making process. Therefore, it would have been more reliable if such a data driven organization would focus and analyze its data to avoid a conflict of interest. Data driven companies and technology companies are directly inter-related (Cadwalladr & Graham-Harrison, 2018). The technology companies offer data to data driven companies for use in surveys and analytics. Working together harmoniously and following ethical considerations can help both companies acquire positive business outcome. However, lack of trust and misuse of data can land both companies in an ethical dilemma as it is the case with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook’s Ethical Challenges

The involvement of Facebook in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal had many effects on the firm.

i. Facebook started facing many regulatory procedures. Initially, the use of Facebook was not limited and any data to be used in Facebook was not controlled. Recently, politicians called upon the firm to explain Facebook’s privacy policy. Political bodies in the United States and in the United Kingdom have raised serious concerns on the Facebook’s privacy policy (Wilson, 2019). This is a regulatory burden that will add costs to Facebook and will also have an impact on the speed of operations in Facebook. This is bad news for Facebook as it has been put under the radar for privacy concerns by the government.

ii. There has currently been a large outrage against Facebook policies. Due to distrust on Facebook, there was a stock market crash. Facebook lost most of its clientele base as most users deactivated their Facebook accounts. This pushed mark Zuckerberg to make a public appearance for damage control. Facebook too made a public apology on their inability to control personal data use (Wilson, 2019). The CEO, Zuckerberg, also announced various measures that would be undertaken to strengthen Facebook’s data policy and avoid mishandling of data by third party associates.

iii. Due to the security breech, large companies such as Mozilla, Tesla and Space X have stopped posting in their Facebook accounts. This is a small event that created a bad reputation for Facebook. Large corporations would not want to be associated with unethical firms like Facebook. Since its involvement in the unfair data usage by Cambridge Analytica for political gains in the Trump elections, there has been an online motion of delete Facebook in twitter (Wilson, 2019). Users are viewing Facebook as too intrusive thus pushing the motion of exiting Facebook. Even Brian Acton, who is the WhatsApp cofounder urged people to delete Facebook for the violation of privacy rights for users. This has had a negative impact on the business of Facebook. The revenue of Facebook has gone down due to the less advertisements from multinational corporations.

iv. Most of the large firms have stopped funding their Facebook campaigns. This is due to the bad reputation that Facebook has created in the society and the business world. At this point in life after indulgence in such a sensitive matter, association with Facebook brings negative implications to the firms (Wilson, 2019). Many firms have not confirmed whether suspension of ads is temporary or long term. This will only depend by how Facebook will manage its public relations crisis in future. This has affected Facebook’s revenue as a result of the crisis.

From my perspective, Facebook will continue to face negative impacts in business from its mishandling of users’ data. Facebook was once a reputable multinational corporation and the leading social media platform. Since the introduction of social media, Facebook took the market by storm. Current trends in technology indicate that people have embraced used of social media rather than physical meetings. There has also been an increase in use of modern technology especially the internet. People have embraced use of online platforms for communication and education. Facebook had been getting positive attention over the years, making high levels of revenue from ads. The Cambridge Analytica scandal put Facebook in the limelight for unethical concerns. Therefore, Facebook is no longer a trusted brand. Many people have pulled out of the platform for privacy concerns. Facebook will continue facing these negative impacts on business unless it reassures its users of a strong privacy policy. This will affect the future and long term performance of Facebook negatively.

Conclusion

Use of digital marketing during campaigns has been embraced over the years. With the great advancements in technology and improvement of digital platforms, politicians prefer social media politics. However the mode of marketing and the message should be in line with community guidelines and should be ethical. However, this is not the case with Cambridge Analytica. Instead of the company conducting fair marketing politics for Trump in the 2016 presidential elections, they sold data acquired from Facebook to target the low class. This caused a major crisis which resulted into breech of privacy policy in Facebook.

Being a giant organization in the technology field, it is important for Facebook to regain its lost reputation. This will only be achieved by assuring its users of a strong privacy policy. Facebook should also detest sharing personal information from users with third party alliances. Mishandling of data by Facebook has really cost the company a loss. Large corporations such as Tesla and Mozilla no longer post in their Facebook pages. This has resulted to loss of revenue from business ads from these corporations. Most of the users also have no confidence in Facebook anymore. The once celebrated social media platform has gained a bad reputation making it not user friendly. Facebook is a large corporation that should ensure safety of data for its users. Cambridge Analytica should also come forward and give the correct information so as to clean up the Facebook name and come clear with the scandal. The scandal has caused a bad relationship between Facebook and the data based company Cambridge Analytica. Therefore, it is important for both companies to resolve their issues for the success of their businesses.

References

Cadwalladr, C., & Graham-Harrison, E. (2018). Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach. The guardian17, 22.

Isaak, J., & Hanna, M. J. (2018). User data privacy: Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and privacy protection. Computer51(8), 56-59.

Kozlowska, I. (2018). Facebook and data privacy in the age of Cambridge Analytica. Seattle, WA: The University of Washington. Retrieved August1, 2019.

Wilson, R. (2019, July). Cambridge analytica, Facebook, and Influence Operations: A case study and anticipatory ethical analysis. In European conference on cyber warfare and security (pp. 587-XX). Academic Conferences International Limited.

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