In an ever-emerging virtual world, privacy and data security is soon becoming a top concern. And it doesn’t alleviate worries, with top companies like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) apologizing and paying huge settlements for breach of privacy, which shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Bloomberg has compiled a slideshow of five largest scandals involving privacy concerns, after which companies’ had to appologize and even pay large settlements in some cases.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE: SNE), privacy concerns

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) landed in quite a situation and apologised for conducting unannounced mood experiments on its users. The 2012 experiment involved around 700,000 Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) users’ Newsfeeds with updates from their friends and how their positive or negative posts impacted the posts of the user.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) was another big name that paid heavily when it unintentionally collected e-mails and other personal data while developing its Street View program. And the top man from Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Eric Schmidt telling people to “just move” didn’t help much either. Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) paid US$ 7 million as settlement in the matter, agreed to destroy all the data that it had collected in US apart from an apology from Eric Schmidt admitting that he misspoke.

Higher concerns were faced by consumers of Target Corporation (NASDAQ:TGT) and Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) when their private information was hacked. Target Corporation (NASDAQ:TGT) which did not even reveal the attack till 4 days, offered an apology, discounts and credit monitoring to all the 70 million impacted customers and sale to the rest to appease customers during the key holiday season. Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) whose PlayStation faced a 24 days outage in 2011, justified the time for increasing security, but kept mum on the issue on the breach.

News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS) took breach of privacy to a new level when it hacked cell phones for create news stories and paid an estimated US$1 Billion to settle over 700 lawsuits.

There is no dearth of big companies whose customers’ privacy was compromised, many a times unintentionally. But it is in these companies’ best interest to protect their customers and restore lost faith if they want their business to keep growing.

Disclosure: None