Facebook has dealt with two major scandals over the past year that have seriously altered its public perception: The Cambridge Analytica data breach last spring, and the far-more-serious recent revelation that approximately 30 million users had their data hacked. The company has tried just about everything to improve its reputation, but according to a report in The Information this week, Facebook may be considering its most drastic step yet — purchasing its own major cybersecurity firm.
According to four people familiar with the matter quoted in The Information, Facebook has approached several security companies about acquiring them by the end of the year.
“Facebook is betting that a splashy acquisition of a security company might serve the dual purpose of bolstering its talent in that field and delivering a much-needed public relations win,” The Information’s Reed Albergotti and Sarah Kuranda wrote.
However, there are practical reasons beyond just a PR boost that Facebook may want to rush a security acquisition. CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg is on the record with a promise to double his company’s safety and security team from 10,000 to 20,000 employees this year. There’s also a high demand for cybersecurity professionals, and with the shortage of talent, Facebook may be hoping that it can fill its needs in one fell swoop.
There’s no doubt that Facebook takes security seriously, but here’s hoping it does so from a genuine desire to protect its users and not just to rehabilitate its image.