THE CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA DATA SCANDAL has all the elements of a viral Facebook post: Trump, “honey trap” sex workers, fake news, secret recordings and dirty tricks to steal elections. The only difference is that Facebook doesn’t want you to share this story.
As revelations continued this week into how a survey app harvested data from 50 million Facebook users to boost Donald Trump’s election campaign, Facebook is fast losing friends. Governments are floating regulations that could curb advertising revenue, investors have wiped off more than $US75 billion of the company’s value, and indignant users are threatening to #DeleteFacebook. Angry emojis abound.
But for social media marketers and insiders familiar with using Facebook advertising for political campaigns, a more common response is the verbal shrug “meh”. Almost every aspect of the scandal was previously reported or was a predictable outcome of Facebook’s business model. So why did outrage boil over this time?
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on 31 March 2018 as ‘Facebook, Unmasked’.