Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) reputation has taken another blow after hackers were able to use login codes to access information on 50 million users. The breach was so extensive that even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's account was hacked.
This has been far from a banner year for Facebook as a whole. In early 2018, Facebook dealt with backlash from the public after Cambridge Analytica was able to access information on 87 million users. But surveys later found that users didn't seem to care much about the breach. So will users care now that there's been a second big incident in the same year? Let's take a closer look.
Facebook suffers second data breach of 2018
Facebook's latest data breach affected 50 million of the platform's more than 2.2 billion users. The most unsettling part about this data breach is that the company still doesn't know who hacked the accounts, or what they did with the information they uncovered.
As a precaution, Facebook decided to reset the digital keys not only of the 50 million accounts it knows got hacked, but also of an additional 40 million accounts that it believes were at risk of being hacked. That means that 90 million people had to log back into their account on all of their devices.
More than 6,000 people complained about the breach on Zuckerberg's personal Facebook page according to Reuters. In addition, two Facebook users are suing the company for the breach. But considering Facebook has 2.2 billion users and 90 million were affected, these responses are rather tame. In fact, it already seems like people don't care that much about this second breach of 2018.
Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal simmers out
If we look back at early 2018, the tepid response from users to the first data breach could have predicted how people would respond to the current data breach. While people seemed up in arms about the Cambridge Analytica scandal on social media, it turned out to mostly be for show.
After the outcries around the Cambridge Analytica breach, Piper Jaffray conducted a survey and found that the majority of users were using Facebook just as much in 2018 as they did last year. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield made a similar observation, writing that most users "simply could not care less" about the privacy issues surrounding Facebook.
It's easy to see why Facebook's 2.2 billion users haven't all fled the platform. They have always known that whatever they posted on a social media platform was public information. That's why people only share photos and information on Facebook that they are comfortable with the public seeing. That's also why most users would never post their medical or banking information on Facebook. So when they hear that a malicious person may have gained access to the information on their Facebook account, they're mostly apathetic.
This indifferent outlook on Facebook's privacy issues works in the company's favor -- as long as its users don't care, its advertisers won't care. The real question is what will happen when a hacker does actually use Facebook users' information for malicious purposes. Then users might actually be scared off the platform, advertisers might flee, and third-party apps might distance themselves. That's when Facebook could get into real trouble, and that's why the company has been investing heavily in security at the expense of profits.