What about Facebook Privacy?!

What about Facebook Privacy?!

For a lion’s share of our current generation, one of the first things we instinctively check while opening up our web browsers or whipping out our smartphones is Facebook, but what do we really know about Facebook privacy?

Mark Zuckerberg’s generation-defining creation has become an indispensable part of personal lives as well as businesses around the world for over a decade. Recording a whopping 2.2 billion active users as well as 80 million business pages to date.

Nobody thought twice before registering their account for free. Connecting with loved ones, following brands and celebrities they like and even using the platform for logging into other sites. However, the series of privacy crises which plagued the social media network and its users received an unparalleled amount of media coverage. Not to mention public rage and flak. Users felt betrayed, businesses were left pondering the implications about continuing their online presence on the site. All the while Zuckerberg and team were up against a looming mountain of trouble. The element of trust had plummeted to an all-time low.

So, what really happened?

Flashback to March from earlier this year. The Guardian and New York Times shock the world, revealing that Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining company, had gained access to over 50 million Facebook user profiles. This firm was also believed to have been involved in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Using data obtained from profiles to gain unfair advantage targeting voters. A consequence of over 270,000 users downloading the app thisisyourdigitallife by Kogan in 2014. Users information was passed on to Cambridge Analytica.

This company also had access to users’ Facebook ‘likes’ to target politically motivated content towards them on the site. This was exposed back in 2015 by the Guardian. Facebook then demanded both Kogan and Cambridge Analytica to immediately delete all unfairly obtained user data. However, it was believed to the data was never deleted and Facebook never continued investigations.

Facebook eventually suspended the Cambridge Analytica accounts, as well as others involved. It took Mark Zuckerberg five days to  respond to the public about the controversy. Doing so without even explaining why the investigation was delayed.

Cpnsequently, users around the world wasted no time in deleting their Facebook accounts. As the platform had made it very easy for developers like Kogan to access personal information about users and their friends. If that wasn’t terrible enough for Zuckerberg and co., this crisis also came at an unprecedented time. A when the spread of fake news and stories on social media in general was being exposed to public attention. Again with the 2016 US elections paving way for the same.

Some Facebook executives and staff also expressed regret working for the company and partaking in originally setting up the social network. And soon, the company’s signature blue colours began to symbolize a sense of gloom in a weird twist of irony.

And how does it impact businesses and users?

We know what you’re thinking. Should you really be bidding your Facebook account farewell? Mark Zuckerberg has promised to tighten privacy settings by taking more stringent steps towards protecting user data in the future. However, here are a few essentials we believe that you should keep in mind while on the social network-

  • Keeping a closer eyeMost of us are responsible for almost impulsively logging into third-party websites and apps. Mostly via Facebook itself. The recent scandal can be a good lesson for all of us to keep a closer eye on all these apps/websites. Through either the Facebook app or the desktop site, allow/deny permissions for any third-party app/website. Also control how much they access your information. Some of these apps/websites may have already accessed your information in the past as you had (unwittingly) given them access. We also recommend that you message and request them to delete the same, using your user ID. Of course, they are under no obligation to do so, although we recommend you contact them anyway.
  • How public is your profile?Awareness of how public your profile is, in terms of your information, is imperative. Updates and the like is one step closer to securing your Facebook account’s privacy. While an extra like or share does good for your online validation, restricting your public updates and data availability is never a bad idea. Prevention is better than cure!
  • All about friendshipLet’s face it. Do every single one of us know each and every Facebook friend of ours? Recently rolling out a handy set of options to control what your Friends can view from your account. Now it’s time to put them to good use. What’s more, make sure you also control how other users can look you up on Facebook search. Later you may review if you want to let them search for your account using your contact details.
  • The curse of adsAs creepy as this is going to sound, both Facebook and Google maintain an unimaginably close track of your online activity. This is so they can promote ads on your feeds accordingly. A holiday package you were looking up on a travel website in the morning, might just pop up on Facebook later that evening. Under the ads section in Facebook settings, users can be effectively control and modify the same. For instance, ads on websites/apps of the Facebook companies can be disabled here. In the Your Interests section, users can take a look at an insightful list of tailor-made categories Facebook has observed and accumulated, to customize your ad feed. Later, this can also be reset through the Facebook privacy settings.

The limits of Facebook user privacy have been stretched beyond recognition online There is always enough reason to stay connected to social networks like Facebook. Zuckerberg and team continue their pursuit towards making their brainchild a thoroughly pleasant and fruitful platform for users around the world. It is also upon users to take necessary steps in keeping their privacy intact.

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