The next step in Facebook’s strategy to regain the trust of its users following the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal is the announcement of a $40,000 bounty. The world’s largest social network has launched this “data abuse” bounty program through which it will reward those who report misuse of user data by app developers. Facebook timed the announcement of this bounty program before the start of its CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress on the data misuse scandal.
People who report cases of data misuse by app developers stand to make anywhere from $500 to $40,000. They will be rewarded for sharing first-hand knowledge and evidence of data misuse by a Facebook platform app that’s collecting and transferring user data to another party in order for the data to be sold to be used for political influence.
Bug bounty programs have been around for a very long time. Tech companies like Facebook and Google routinely pay security researchers tens of thousands of dollars for discovering vulnerabilities in their systems. However, this bounty program for data abuse is the first of its kind.
“It will help us find the cases of data abuse not tied to security vulnerability. … This will cover both hemispheres, and help surface more cases like Cambridge Analytica so we can know about it first and take action,” explained Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos.
Once a case is reported to Facebook, the evidence will be vetted by its bug and data abuse bounty team. Facebook will decide on a course of action when the investigation is complete which may include shutting the app down, suing its developers or even an onsite audit of the company buying or selling data.