Facebook stock plunges amid reports of Trump campaign consultants using unauthorized data from 50M users

Source: GeekWire | March 19, 2018 | Monica Nickelsburg

Facebook shares were down more than 7 percent Monday in the wake of damaging reports that Republican campaign operatives obtained data from 50 million users to inform the campaigns of President Donald Trump and other conservative candidates.

Cambridge Analytica, a firm that uses data to voter personality traits and behavior, illegitimately obtained information about Facebook users to help conservative campaigns target advertisements, messaging, and other modes of influence, according to reports from The New York Times and several British publications Saturday. Late Friday evening, Facebook announced it had suspended Cambridge Analytica and associated researchers.

The Times called it one “one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history.” But Facebook rebuked that claim as “completely false” because the data was obtained by misleading the company and its users rather than by infiltrating its security systems. Facebook may be overestimating the importance of semantics to investors; the share price of the company was $171 Monday morning, down from $185 Friday.

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