Facebook is already known as an invasive platform when it comes to users’ privacy. After all, the social media giant has faced scandals related to users’ privacy breach in the past.
The platform has yet again come under fire for another scandal concerning data-abuse. The latest scandal involves both the social media giant itself and a political data mining firm, Cambridge Analytica.
Our Data Has Never Been So Unsecure
Data breach or abuse has become a commonplace in the 21st century. However, before we start finger pointing, we should first reflect on our own actions. Today, Internet users have become complacent when it comes to privacy. We never think of the consequences when we check “I Agree” when accessing an application or a website. We never take a minute off to read the complete terms and conditions.
Additionally, there’s also Facebook’s intrusive terms of services that lets apps invade even our friend’s Facebook data. At the end of the day, firms like Cambridge Analytica end up getting away with our personal data and use it for their own riches or other ulterior motives.
The Notorious Scandal
Back in the 2016 US presidential elections, Cambridge Analytica was hired by a Republican donor to develop a tool that could enable the party find and categorize American voters based on their personality traits.
The data mining firm developed and ran a free personality quiz app on Facebook, and with the help of its academic researcher, the firm harvested the personal details of over 50 million Facebook users. Although the app technically received the consent of the users, but it wasn’t patently true. After all, the consent is often not informed and users tend to agree to such consents without reading the terms of service.
The huge data collection from the free personality quiz allowed the firm to exploit the profiles of a plethora of Facebook users. This was done to successfully show these users targeted political ads. Currently the social media giant along with the political data firm, Cambridge Analytica, have now garnered International attention and earned themselves a Federal investigation.
So, Is There Any Way Out?
It is still not clear how many apps are harvesting Facebook’s users’ personal data. To prevent further data abuse, here are a few workarounds we must consider:
- The first and most common would be to delete your Facebook account altogether so you don’t leave any room for the social media giant to harvest your private data.
- Another step is to change and restrict the permissions of various apps on Facebook.
- Uninstall every Facebook app that might have access to your data.
Cambridge Analytica denied all such accusations related to harvesting Facebook’s users’ data in a statement on March 17. But, are we dumb enough to take their words as true and keep feeding them our private data?
Mining the personal data of users and utilizing it for targeted ads or other purposes, which is the bread and butter for many such companies. They would first deny their wrongdoings and the next minute they would again indulge in such activities without any remorse.
Hence, it is up to us how to tackle these wrongdoings and keep our private data safe and secure.
Osama Khan is a tech reporter and internet privacy and security enthusiast, who regularly shares his knowledge and ideas through this writings in an effort to make the internet a safe and secure place for all. Looking to connect? Send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @osamakhangt