Murdoch-owned newspaper reports that advertisers bail on Facebook in wake of Cambridge Analytica scandal

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      It could be a tense weekend for Facebook executives as they await the reopening of stock markets on Monday.

      Their biggest concern may not be investigations by privacy and information commissioners in Canada and the United Kingdom or the decision by Elon Musk to shut down Facebook pages for Tesla and SpaceX.

      Rather, it's the possibility that advertisers might stop putting their money into the social-media giant as a result of the leak of data about more than 50 million Facebook users to Cambridge Analytica.

      The Times of London newspaper, which is wholly owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has reported that major organizations have halted buying ads, starting with Mozilla and followed by Germany-based Commerzbank.

      Last year, S&P Global Market Intelligence ranked Commerzbank as the third largest bank in Germany, based on assets, and 53rd largest in the world, just behind Canada's Bank of Montreal.

      The Times quoted Britain's culture secretary, Matt Hancock, saying that data-protection legislation will allow the information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, to "fine up to four percent of global turnover if social media platforms don't play by the rules".

      In the case of Facebook, that reportedly adds up to CDN$2 billion.

      Facebook shares fell 13.89 percent in value this week, despite public statements by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to try to stem the loss of public confidence.

      Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told CNBC that the data leak was "a huge breach of trust".

      "I am so sorry that we let so many people down," Sandberg told CNBC. "We spent the last few days trying to get to the bottom of what happened.

      "Cambridge Analytica never should have had this data," she continued. "They told us they deleted it but it is our mistake that we did not verify that."

      Cambridge Analytica is a political consulting company partially owned by one of Donald Trump's biggest supporters, billionaire Robert Mercer. It employed Trump's campaign manager, Steve Bannon, as vice president.

      Meanwhile, the Washington Post has reported that Facebook had a closer relationship with Cambridge University professor Aleksandr Kogan than it has publicly suggested.

      Kogan shared the data he collected from Facebook with Cambridge Analytica.

      Two Facebook scientists even coauthored a paper with Kogan based on the data that had been collected, working with him over a two-year period.  

      Last year, Facebook generated US$40.65 billion in revenue, up from US$26.89 billion in 2016 and US$17.93 billion in 2015.

      In comparison, Murdoch's News Corp. reported revenues of US$8.14 billion last year, down from US$8.29 billion the previous year.

      News Corp. posted a US$643-million loss in 2017 after reporting earnings of US$235 million the previous year.

      News Corp.'s businesses include news and information services, book publishing, digital real estate service, and cable network programming mostly in the United States, Australia, and the U.K.

      In the past, Murdoch was seen as the most powerful media mogul in the world. But he's clearly been supplanted by Zuckerberg, whose company generated five times as much revenue as News Corp. last year.

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