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Mozilla withdraws its ads from Facebook because of data scandal

Mozilla made the changes today, after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally broke his silence on the scandal engulfing his company. This week, Facebook has been widely criticised for not doing more to address the data harvested from its platform and obtained by Cambridge Analytica. The company is facing allegations that the data was used to sway the U.S. 2016 presidential election.
In a blog post today, Mozilla announced it is “pressing pause” on its Facebook advertising campaigns. The organisation reflected that Facebook holds “intimate information” on its two billion users which isn’t always adequately protected. Mozilla noted that Facebook’s default privacy settings enable access to a lot of user data, including by third-party apps and developers.
Mozilla is open to resuming its ad campaigns in the future. It said that changes announced by Mark Zuckerberg are an “encouraging” sign that Facebook could take “stronger action.” Mozilla said it will only consider returning if Facebook implements more stringent privacy defaults for data collected by third-party apps. The organisation added it will not be spending its advertising budget on a platform that’s now been linked to misuse of the data from 50 million users.
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“Mozilla is pressing pause on our Facebook advertising. Facebook knows a great deal about their two billion users – perhaps more intimate information than any other company does,” said Mozilla. “When Facebook takes stronger action in how it shares customer data, specifically strengthening its default privacy settings for third party apps, we’ll consider returning,” the organisation added.
Mozilla’s decision to suspend its Facebook ads isn’t going to make a significant impact beyond being a symbolic move against Facebook. In the days since the Cambridge Analytica revelations broke, Facebook has faced an unusually strong outpouring of discontent from its users. The “#deletefacebook” hashtag has been trending on other social media platforms several times this week, with one user telling The New York Times that “we have surpassed the tipping point, where the benefit now fails to outweigh the cost.”
For Mozilla, a software organisation that tries to develop global products while maintaining ethical standards, it appears the “tipping point” has also arrived. With Facebook users engaging in a backlash, Mozilla’s decision to depart the platform too indicates the magnitude of the storm that’s facing the company. While it will take more than just Mozilla to impact on Facebook’s ad revenue, the company has already lost almost $46 billion due to the data scandal.

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