After The New York Times and The Guardian published individual news articles covering detailed reports of the data breach by Cambridge Analytica at the behest of US politician, Ted Cruz, on March 17, 2018; Facebook has been actively taking steps to ensure the prevention of such breaches in the future. The latest step that Facebook has taken for the cause is the introduction of ‘Data Abuse Bounty’- a reward that shall be given to anyone who reports any misuse of data by app developers.

Inspired by the ‘Bug Bounty Programme’ that Facebook uses to uncover and address security issues, the Data Abuse Bounty has been introduced to help the social media giant uncover potential data breaches quickly and effectively. The programme has promised rewards to anyone with first-hand knowledge and proof of cases of misuse of data, where a Facebook platform app has collected and transferred user data to a different party to be ‘sold, stolen or used for scams or political influence’.

We’ll review all legitimate reports and respond as quickly as possible when we identify a credible threat to people’s information. If we confirm data abuse, we will shut down the offending app and take legal action against the company selling or buying the data, if necessary. We’ll pay the person who reported the issue, and we’ll also alert those we believe to be affected. – Collin Greene, Head of Product Security at Facebook

The reward shall be given on the basis of the potential damage that may be caused by the data abuse; and while Facebook has not set an upper limit, if the precedence set by the Bug Bounty Programme is to be followed, rewards have been said to go up to $40,000 for high impact bug reports.

Being a first of its kind, the feature shall change and develop over time, based on user feedback.

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