Facebook Scandal

If you’re reading this article, there is a one in four chance that you have a Facebook account. Facebook is a social media website that was created on Feb. 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg. A social media website is a website that enables users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Facebook was the first big social media website and continues to grow every day. Over two billion people today have a Facebook, but is this a good thing? Recently information from Facebook has been leaked, and users are starting to become fearful of the spread of their personal information. 

When sophomore Brendon O’meara was asked if he had a Facebook, and if he did, would he be  uncomfortable with other people finding his personal information on it, his response was, “I do have a Facebook but I rarely use it, and it would make me uncomfortable that people could find out my personal information, but I would not necessarily feel life threatened because I do not have that much information on Facebook.” 

In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg struck a deal with Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm. Cambridge Analytica created an app called ThisIsYourDigitalLife. The app paid people to take a personality test and have their data collected. Facebook was connected to this app because the app was promoted on Facebook, and the app used Facebook to get information on user’s friends. So not only was the user’s information stolen through the app, but a lot of the user’s friends also had their information leaked. Zuckerberg apparently knew that Cambridge Analytica was doing this but did nothing to address the issue. 

The personal information leak spread through people’s Facebook friends rapidly.

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Mark Zuckerberg being escorted to his congress hearing (Gathered by Elena Waldroop).

Cambridge Analytica representative Christopher Wylie said that there was an estimated 50 million people affected by the data breach. But in a later interview, Wylie stated that the number of people affected could be closer to 87 million. 

 

Wylie told the Observer that: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we know about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.” 

There was a hearing by Congress of Zuckerberg regarding the information leaked through his website. Many people believe that this hearing was a scam to confuse people and to get Zuckerberg off the hook. Each senator was only given five minutes to ask Zuckerberg questions, which means none of the senators could get into deep questions with the CEO of Facebook. Zuckerberg took advantage of only having fiver minutes with each senator by wasting time talking about things that only alluded to the problem. No laws were set, and there was only promises and apologies. Other people who have run into the same problem as Zuckerberg were Bill Gates, whose trial lasted days, and the Kefauver hearings which were over a year long. Zuckerberg’s trial only lasted hours. 

Since there have been no laws yet enacted because of this incident, should people still fear the spread of their personal information? When asked what law could be enacted to fix the problem, sophomore Antoine Hibbert said, “I feel that there could be something put in place that would completely prevent people from seeing other people’s information without their direct consent.” 

Will the government get involved with social media at some point if information continues to be leaked? Some people believe that Zuckerberg actually retrieved everyone’s information for himself, for who knows why. Is social media still safe for people to use? The answer to that question could be coming soon. 

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