The nonprofit said it decided to halt ads after news that Facebook allowed British firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest and exploit more than 50 million users’ personal data ― then failed to follow up on it for more than two years.
“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,” Denelle Dixon, Mozilla’s chief business and legal officer, wrote in a blog post Wednesday.
“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,” Dixon continued.
Mozilla appeared to be the first major company to yank Facebook advertising amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The political consulting firm worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, using Facebook data to build voter profiles.
Mozilla said it will consider resuming ads on Facebook if the company boosts protection for customer data, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised during a media blitz Wednesday.
“We are encouraged that Mark Zuckerberg has promised to improve the privacy settings and make them more protective,” Dixon wrote. “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.”
Mozilla launched a petition earlier this week calling on Facebook to change its app permissions in an effort to limit access to Facebook users’ sensitive information.
“Facebook’s current default settings leave a lot of questions and a lot of data flying around,” the petition says. “One thing is clear though: Facebook needs to step up and respect its users.”