RISE AND FALTER OF AN EMPIRE
Facebook launches the first version of its Open Graph API, which allows third-party app developers to access users’ details.
The US Federal Trade Commission and Facebook sign a consent decree in which the company promises it won’t share users’ data without their permission.
Facebook Inc goes public on May 18 (pictured right).
UK-based Strategic Communication Laboratories Group (SCL) founds Cambridge Analytica as its US arm.
Cambridge University researcher Dr Aleksandr Kogan harvests data from 270,000 users of his Facebook app, thisisyourdigitallife, as well as information from millions of their Facebook friends. Cambridge Analytica buys the information from Kogan in violation of Facebook’s terms.
Facebook discovers users’ personal details have been sold and demands Kogan and Cambridge Analytica delete the information, but does not follow up the request.
Cambridge Analytica is hired by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump wins the US election.
Russian groups reportedly flood Facebook with propaganda ads and false information during the presidential campaign. Facebook eventually says Russian accounts bought more than $100,000 worth of ads.
Special counsel Robert Mueller requests files from Cambridge Analytica to investigate alleged links to Russian interference in US election.
2018 March 16:
Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica, claiming it lied about deleting user data. Facebook says Kogan passed that data to SCL and Cambridge Analytica against its terms of service.
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie reveals how data from Facebook users was shared with Cambridge Analytica. Data from an estimated 50 million users was reportedly used to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The #DeleteFacebook campaign starts as users boycott Facebook.
Facebook stocks plunge, losing $60 billion in value. Zuckerberg tells CNN he is “happy to testify” before US Congress.
Zuckerberg says he will “step up”. He announces an audit into apps accessing large amounts of information and plans for new restrictions on user data.
Facebook takes out full-page ads in seven UK and three US newspapers to address the ongoing Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.
Cambridge Analytica is accused of breaking US election law in a formal complaint filed to the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice. Politicians demand Facebook explain itself.
Wylie tells a UK select committee the EU referendum was won through fraud, accusing “Vote Leave” of improperly channelling money through a tech firm linked to Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook simplifies the privacy settings shown in its app.
Zuckerberg confirms no employee was fired due to the scandal, calls it his fault: “At the end of the day this is my responsibility”. Facebook says Cambridge Analytica may have had data on 87 million people, including more than 311,000 Australians.
Countries including The Netherlands, Norway, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal simultaneously file complaints about Facebook breaking European privacy law.
Zuckerberg testifies before the US House Energy and Commerce Committee about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Shares plunge 19 per cent.
Facebook acts on suspected Russia-linked accounts.
The New York Times reports Facebook hired a research firm to campaign against critics.
Lawmakers from Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Canada, France, Argentina, Brazil, Latvia and Singapore meet to investigate disinformation.