Facebook's embattled brand

- Facebook announced that hackers gained access to nearly 30 million users' accounts and personal data in a security breach which the social media company originally said might impact up to 50 million accounts. 

The revised number is still a big blow to a brand that banks on users' trust. 

Facebook said hackers got names, email addresses, and phone numbers. Hackers accessed even more personal information from about 14 million of the compromised accounts, including hometowns, birthdates and the users' search histories.

Some users indicated that Facebook is losing face, after a string of data privacy issues this year. 

"I used to be a real Facebooker, but now, no," said Geneica Williams of Hayward, "I don't post as much information as I used to now that I know the breaches and stuff are there." 

"They definitely need to fix their problems. I would still use it but I make sure I know what I'm doing,"  said Hassan Odtallah of Castro Valley.

The company said hackers did not access any credit card information and says it's taken security steps.

"People's accounts have already been been secured by the action we took 2 weeks ago to reset the acess token for people who were potentailly exposed. No one needs to log out again and no one needs to change their passsword," said Guy Rosen, Vice-President of Facebook Product Management.

The breach marks another blow to the Facebook brand, already battered by this year's Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal where data was harvested from as many as 87 million users. The company also has been plagued with evidence of Russians using the platform for election meddling.

"The first job is to accept responsiblity. And I think the first Facebook response has been kind of tepid," said David Aaker, an author and international expert in branding who serves as Vice-Chair for Prophet. 

He says for a tech company like Facebook, which relies on users and advertising dollars, the company's credibilty and users'  trust in the brand is essential. He cited Facebook's situation  to an historic case when Tylenol's brand changed packaging in response to contamination

"It's going to be hard for Facebook to climb back they're going to lose some patronage," said Aaker, "They're used to growing at a dramatic rate and that's a problem."

Aaker says many companies have turned a crisis around by quick action to show their customers they're solving the problems, but for tech companies such as Facebook, that can be a challenge.

"You don't have something visible like a new package that everyone can see corrects the problem. So you kind of have to do it behind the scenes with software and at the end of the day, you really have to say trust me I fixed it," said Aaker. 

Some say that question of trust might be reflected in Facebook's stock that has dropped more than 20 percent into bear market territory this year. 

Facebook says it will send messages to people whose accounts were hacked and users can check whether their data was stolen by visiting the company's help center.
 

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