Mozilla pulls advertising from Facebook

Mozilla is not happy with Facebook. Not happy at all. Having already started a petition to try to force the social network to do more about user privacy, the company has now decided to withdraw its advertising from the platform.

The organization is voting with its money following the misuse of user data by Cambridge Analytica, as it tries to force Facebook into taking privacy more seriously.

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Mozilla says that it is not happy to financially support a platform that does not do enough to protect user privacy. But the company is not severing ties completely. It says that advertising is being "paused" and that if the right steps are taken by Facebook "we'll consider returning."

In a statement issued on the Mozilla blog, Denelle Dixon says:

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. They know everything we click and like on their site, and know who our closest friends and relationships are. Because of its scale, Facebook has become one of the most convenient platforms to reach an audience for all companies and developers, whether a multibillion corporation or a not-for-profit.

We understand that Facebook took steps to limit developer access to friends' data beginning in 2014. This was after Facebook started its relationship with Cambridge University Professor Aleksandr Kogan, whose decision to share data he collected from Facebook with Cambridge Analytica is currently in the news. This news caused us to take a closer look at Facebook's current default privacy settings given that we support the platform with our advertising dollars. While we believe there is still more to learn, we found that its current default settings leave access open to a lot of data -- particularly with respect to settings for third party apps.

We are encouraged that Mark Zuckerberg has promised to improve the privacy settings and make them more protective. 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.

We look forward to Facebook instituting some of the things that Zuckerberg promised today.

While Mozilla is the first company to not only speak out against, but also take action against Facebook, it is unlikely to be the last. Plenty of members of the technology industry have voiced their concerns about Facebook's handling of the situation, and it would not be in the least bit surprising if more followed Mozilla's lead.

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