Facebook was founded in 2004 and this is the first true blemish on their record.
That’s pretty impressive considering they manage 2.2 Billion active users
As a user you control your privacy settings so you are partially responsible for protecting your personal information.
Since the scandal broke, there has been no significant drop in Facebook activity. What is comes down to at the end of the day is that Facebook need to pay closer attention to the suspicious behavior of advertisers, political organizations and the like, and pay special attention to the purpose and collection of information.
It is not an easy task to protect your information and over the years Facebook has done an admiral job.
Firstly, Facebook must ensure the integrity of the site by preventing Cyber-attacks and malware. There are between 250,000 to 1 million new malware programs issued every day.
Secondly, Facebook provides a secure area for users to sign-up and to login to their Facebook account. Users are verified and protocols are put in place to prevent false personas. While there are admittedly fake users, Facebook monitors and is very active in cancelling bogus accounts.
The premise behind the scandal is that Facebook did not guard it’s users against data mining by advertisers and political organizations. Further, Facebook had an awareness of this suspicious behavior.
While this is correct, it should be noted that this information was not leaked, it was solicited from users who had a responsibility to guard their data
All users acknowledge Facebook’s terms of service but hardly anyone actually reads the terms of service.
Here is the provision for Advertisements:
About Advertisements and Other Commercial Content Served or Enhanced by Facebook
Our goal is to deliver advertising and other commercial or sponsored content that is valuable to our users and advertisers. In order to help us do that, you agree to the following:
- You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it.
- We do not give your content or information to advertisers without your consent.
- You understand that we may not always identify paid services and communications as such.
Most of the information garnered from Facebook was demographics from users that agreed to participate in surveys.
A few final thoughts.
If someone voluntarily discloses information, who is to blame?
If you invite 2.2 billion people to a party, it is a certainty that some of these people will be trouble-makers.
Facebook and Facebook users should be outraged at Cambridge Analytica and the app developed by Global Science Research Ltd as clearly their theft of Facebook data was conducted without authorization, and it was an explicit violation of Facebook’s policies.
Hat’s off to Mark Zuckerberg for his public apology, his open admissions and his resolve to make the necessary changes to protect you and yours.