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The Facebook Scandal

Is Facebook coming to an end?

Facebook+CEO+Mark+Zuckerberg+testified+to+Congress+on+April+10%2C+2018.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to Congress on April 10, 2018.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to Congress on April 10, 2018.

Andrew Harnik

Andrew Harnik

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to Congress on April 10, 2018.

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Recently, it has come into news that Facebook has been sharing private user data– specifically, that of approximately 87 million users– with a political company named Cambridge Analytica. With this information newly arisen, Facebook users have been feeling shocked and violated, especially since the personal information shared was done so without any previous consultation with the users. Now, the debate on whether or not it is safe or even trustworthy to continue the use of Facebook is left to interpretation.

 

Back in February of 2004, a Harvard University student by the name of Mark Zuckerberg founded a social media site called “The Facebook.” What started with a mere 1,200 Harvard University students as users turned into a global phenomenon. In 2017, it was estimated that Facebook was reaching the 2 billion user mark.

 

With its rapid growth, it is no doubt that Facebook users have placed a large amount of trust and faith into the industry; however, what was unknown to them was that in 2014, a digital app named “This Is Your Digital Life” was collecting data through a seemingly innocent personality test. Consequently, this data was being sent over to Cambridge Analytica, a company that “offers services to businesses and political parties who want to change audience behaviour” (Guardian). Despite the app only appearing to be a personality test, it was able to access user profiles, collecting their data in addition to data of all their Friends as well. Ultimately, Cambridge Analytica used this data to influence users to vote for at-the-time presidential candidate Donald Trump on their voting choices back in the 2016 United States Presidential Election.

 

Mark Zuckerberg was also called to testify to Congress on April 10, 2018. For five hours, Mark Zuckerberg sat before the United States Senate to clearly explain what data Facebook had shared.

 

So far, in response to the Facebook scandal, Facebook has notified the affected users individually informing them that their data was shared. Facebook has also modified its terms of service and data use policy, stating that these would be clearer to understand.

 

With the current situation with Facebook’s breach of privacy, many Facebook users have contemplated limiting the information they share with Facebook, or even deleting the social media completely. Facebook user Gabi Moussa (12) was “shocked” when hearing the news and stated that she’ll be “texting instead of using Messenger from now on.”

 

Facebook has certainly deteriorated its reputation, especially since this incidence was not the first time Facebook was at fault. The only question left is whether social media platforms need to install stronger guidelines to protect their users or that people need to disconnect themselves from social media overall.

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