Opinion: Social media users privacy is sold to highest bidder

By Imari Rede
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Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, speaks at day three of Web Summit 2017 at Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. Image Courtesy Sam Barnes | Flickr

Betrayal is something that no one should ever be subject to, let alone from a social media platform.

Facebook has lost the trust that it gained over the last fourteen years by not dealing with a data mining scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.

This company is a British political consulting firm that combines data mining, data brokerage and data analysis with strategic communication for political purposes.

Cambridge Analytica violated Facebook’s rules by using academic psychologist Alexander Kogan’s personality quiz to collect data.

This data was used to politically target users by analyzing their answers which is known as psychological profiling. This information has been available to the public and Facebook since 2015 and the problem is barely resurfacing. 

Facebook made it simple for apps to access users data, and any connecting data. Someone that syncs their contacts with Facebook can also give these apps access to their contacts’ data.

People that use it don’t care about what goes on behind the screen at Facebook’s headquarters. They care about their loved ones on the other side of their own screen.

The emotional ties that its users have to the site are not based on how great the technology is or how well the coding was done. People like Facebook because they can easily connect to their friends and family.

Users make it easy for the social media giant and its subsidiaries to endlessly collect data. Terms and conditions are overlooked out of apathy. Almost no one sits and reads the contracts that are presented to them while using apps.

Users click through as fast as possible just to use the app and move on. If companies wanted people to know what they were getting into, the terms and conditions would be simplified and straight forward.

Instead companies use language only lawyers and trained individuals can grasp to benefit themselves. It’s shocking that American Facebook users are not motivated to understand what their information is used for. The politically related information Cambridge Analytica has gathered is known to have influenced the 2016 presidential election by working for Trump’s campaign.

Supporting Trump in anyway is a betrayal to many people across the United States. From the far left, to the most right wing Republican there is no doubt that both organizations are at fault for this misuse of data collection.

“This was a major breach of trust. We have a basic responsibility to protect people’s data and if we can’t do that then we don’t deserve the opportunity to serve people” Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview.

The public can not agree more. The #DeleteFacebook hashtag was trending s on  March 16 when The New York Times and The Guardian broke the news that around 50 million profiles have fallen victim to the misuse of the data collected by the data firm for the past three years or so.

Facebook is a hub for any and all types of data because it reaches a diverse and vast amount of people around the globe.

It planned to be a foundation in networking for anyone to access but they did not understand the repercussions nor the responsibility that comes along with such a large outreach.

Social media users across the world need to come together and hold Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook accountable.

If Zuckerberg and his staff cannot insure drastic changes and full proof data protection, Facebook may become the next Myspace.