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Facebook ousted from ethical companies index

Thumbs down

Facebook ousted from ethical companies index

Following a rough couple of years for social networking enterprise Facebook, which has seen the company at the centre of numerous privacy scandals, it has now been knocked off an index that records socially responsible businesses.

The list is compiled by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and is known as the ESG Index, with the letters standing for Environmental, Social, and Governance. S&P has confirmed that it has removed Facebook from its index after it scored poorly in the areas of governance and social responsibility. Each category is scored out of 100, and Facebook scored 22 for social responsibility and just 6 for governance.

These disappointing scores for the world’s largest social network come as a result of privacy concerns following a number of high-profile controversies. The chief of social and governance at S&P, Reid Steadman, explained that the results are due to Facebook showing a lack of transparency into why it collects and shares certain aspects of user data.

As part of the data sharing claim, S&P highlights that Facebook allows over 150 different companies to access the personal data of its users without these users knowing or consenting. Furthermore, as revealed as part of the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year, this personal data has in some cases been misused. Facebook has also been the subject of a data breach in the last 12 months that saw 50 million accounts on the network hacked.

Steadman explains that it is these events that have created an air of uncertainty around the social network’s diligence and attitude towards the protection of the personal data it has access to, as well as the effectiveness of the company’s risk management procedures and their enforcement. This has caused Facebook to fall behind its peers in regards to performance in S&P’s ESG Index.

The latest issue of the S&P index was released at the end of April, and Facebook wasn’t the only tech giant to be scrubbed from the list. Both IBM and Oracle had also been removed, but Facebook was the biggest name to be expelled.

The removal of Facebook from the ESG Index is just the latest issue for Facebook. According to The Daily Telegraph, the company is also facing calls from both investors and politicians for the company to be broken up, a lack of trust from users, and impending court cases for breaches of the GDPR.

Alan Littler

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