Cambridge Analytica's suspension raises Facebook trust issues

Facebook data harvested by a 'personality app' and sold to Cambridge Analytica may not have been destroyed, in breach of Facebook policies. 

Whilst Cambridge Analytica maintains it deleted the data after Facebook requested it do so, the company has been suspended from the social media platform.

Revelations in today's Guardian and in tomorrow's Observer, suggest Cambridge Analytica may have used the harvested data in their work on the Brexit Referendum and the Trump Presidential campaign. There is also a serious question about whether both companies misled a House of Commons Select Committee inquiry.

Sarah Hall Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR President
A trustworthy media is critical to democracy. Social media companies like Facebook must be transparent about the risks of unethical data harvesting. Particularly if the data is then used in an attempt, successful or otherwise, to influence the democratic process.

This story asks serious questions about  security and whether the ICO should have been informed about a breach when Facebook first knew about the data harvesting. Facebook must now take steps to reassure users and restore trust. 

Public Relations professionals will be reminded by this case of their professional obligation to gather, store and process data strictly within the law, and their code of conduct.
Sarah Hall Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR President
Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).