What’s Going on With Facebook?

What's Going on With Facebook?

Amila Niksic, Writer

Internet privacy is an issue that has been increasingly shoved into the public eye lately.  Many users are now learning that their information is being collected and sold to third-party companies by corporations that they trust with their photos, data, passwords, and more. One of these corporations, one that many people love and use, is being criticized and boycotted due to recent reports that they did not stop a third-party from stealing data that influenced the 2016 election of Donald Trump.  This corporation is Facebook, and the #DeleteFacebook movement is plunging their numbers- for a reason. Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, was hired by Donald Trump’s political team to collect data from Facebook users in an effort to create personalized campaign advertisements to sway their vote ahead of the 2016 election.  This data-mining affected over 50 million Facebook users and collected information such as friend-networks, “likes,” and even user locations. This gathering is not considered a breach of security, however, because Facebook regularly allows research companies to explore their user’s data, as long as they are being used for educational purposes and not monetary ones.  Cambridge Analytica took advantage of that loophole and disregarded the rules essentially stealing information that quite possibly could have allowed Donald Trump to win the election. Not only did Cambridge Analytica take the data, they repeatedly denied accessing it, though they have now relented and admitted to it.

The question many people are asking is, “should Facebook be blamed for this?” The answer is complicated.  Facebook did not allow its users to know that their data was being accessed by third-parties, but Facebook also did not know what Cambridge Analytica was using the information for. That being said, however, they still should not in any way have allowed their user’s data to be accessed and for that, they are in the wrong. Until Facebook decides to protect their users’ privacy over their own monetary interest, they will continue to be in hot water and a billion users around the world will be deciding whether or not to #DeleteFacebook.