As we live our lives every day, we continually post updates for all of our friends to see. Until now we we’re all under the assumption that our friends were the sole receivers of our information. However, everyone has just learned a few weeks ago that this is far from the truth.
Creator and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has recently come under fire for not keeping our data as safe as we would like. Most applications on your phone, as long as you allowed them to connect to Facebook, automatically had a wide-ranging access to all of your data.
This then allowed these third-party apps to use that information to turn a profit of their own.
Facebook has also been using a method to assume everyone’s political affiliation by keeping tabs on the websites everyone visits. By going into settings and then ads on your account, you can check for yourself which political affiliation Facebook believes you to be.
Not only does this seem unnecessary for Facebook to know, but since other companies and apps can get a hold of that information, the situation has become problematic.
As a result of this coming to light, Zuckerberg took a huge hit of $10 billion to his net worth and a whopping 60-billion-dollar loss to Facebook’s total valuation.
The social media giant is now on damage control, as Zuckerberg and his staff are hastily ensuring their users that there is something being done about this, and that it will never happen again.
Zuckerberg detailed the steps being taken to eliminate this problem in a Facebook post, saying that, “we will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.”
People have also discovered more about Facebook in the past few weeks as well. There is a way to go on the platform for yourself and download a copy of all of your personal data that Facebook stores on their server.
After requesting the data, it takes a few minutes before receiving an email saying that the data is ready to download.
After thousands of people began unzipping this file on their computers, they found all of their phone contacts, including ones that were deleted.
They found all of their Facebook posts, pictures and private messages, again including information that could have been deleted years ago. Some people even found some of their phone text message conversations in the hands of Facebook, as well as their ingoing and outgoing call logs.
After all of these findings went viral across social media, thousands of people decided to start a movement and delete their accounts.
The only way for this data to be deleted permanently on Facebook’s servers is to permanently delete your account. Suspending use of your account takes it offline, but doesn’t delete anything from the servers.
Within the past few days, Zuckerberg also admitted to storing and having staff evaluate private messages shared on the platform. In ways, this makes sense to me, but only if the messages that are evaluated contain information about illegal activities or terroristic threats.
After reading up about this, the realization hit me that Facebook probably has access to everyone’s cell phone and even home phone number, since it has been shown that they keep a record of every contact in everyone’s phone contact list.
In the world that we live in today, information is power and money. It doesn’t really surprise me that these companies are taking advantage of what they can do, and it also doesn’t surprise me that they don’t really care about being unethical or immoral in their actions.
These services are “free,” and because of that, I don’t think they really owe us anything.
Some of the information that they have should not be in their hands.
However, I also believe that if you give them certain information and post on the platform regularly, they have the right to see, regulate and store that information.
I think this whole scandal has brought up an important debate that we all need to be having.
The internet and social media are dominating forces in our lives. We, as the users of these platforms and services, need to make sure we are holding them accountable and that they are worthy enough to have our information.
Ryan Kutzler is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in journalism and music. ✉ RK821378@wcupa.edu.