Facebook Controversy Unlikely to be the Death Knell for Social Media Giant
Facebook users should be more conscious of the information they share. /Dana Hirsch
Facebook is facing tough times ahead as users are dropping the popular social networking site after its data scandal raised ethical questions on user privacy. As our world becomes more connected, the impact our personal information has online and the role it has in our society should be carefully monitored.
The scandal revolves around the information gathering firm Cambridge Analytica, which does as its website suggests: “Cambridge Analytica uses data to change audience behaviour.” It does this by combining data mining, data brokerage, and data analysis through features such as your browsing history, your location data and who your friends are.
The controversy furthers as the political data firm was hired by President Trump’s 2016 election campaign and gained access to private information on more than 50 million Facebook users. The firm offered the campaign tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and even influence their behaviour.
Facebook claims Cambridge Analytica violated its privacy policies, but its a a charge that the firm strongly denies. In Cambridge Analytica’s response to facebook’s announcements, the firm stated that “Cambridge Analytica ‘s Commercial and Political divisions use social media platforms for outward marketing, delivering data-led and creative content to targeted audiences. They do not use or hold data from Facebook profiles.”
Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had is his own tour of press conferences attempting to answer and comfort all things related to the scandal. We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you” said Zuckerberg
Damage control seems like the apparent theme in Zuckerberg’s statements as the social networking site deals with a “Delete Facebook Movement” which started right after the Cambridge Analytic scandal with many claiming that Zuckerberg was not taking the appropriate action until the delete Facebook movement started taking popularity.
At our own campus, we surveyed how students feel about the now controversial social networking site. “At this point, I only use it for messaging and Memes.” said Elena Lowe, a Human Service major. Its a common position many are taking as overall Facebook usage is decline.
The public is angered that their personal information was being used for means unknown to them, but is this news to anyone? Most of us know that in return for being connected to anyone in the world that our profile information will be turned into data for companies to harvest and to help advertisers to target potential consumers.
Facebook differs from most social networks from just the sheer number of users and the intertwining it has achieved with other applications and organizational features like being able to organize and planning events on a accessible platform. Whether or not you appreciate the social networking facebook provides, it’s unlikely the site with its 2 billion users will end in the near future.