Northwest Horizons

Facebook data mining scandal causes tension with users

Student+Claire+Halterman+scrolls+through+her+Facebook+feed.+Facebook+has+been+under+fire+since+the+data+scandal+involving+Cambridge+Analytica+back+in+March.
Student Claire Halterman scrolls through her Facebook feed. Facebook has been under fire since the data scandal involving Cambridge Analytica back in March.

Student Claire Halterman scrolls through her Facebook feed. Facebook has been under fire since the data scandal involving Cambridge Analytica back in March.

Student Claire Halterman scrolls through her Facebook feed. Facebook has been under fire since the data scandal involving Cambridge Analytica back in March.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the company as a whole has been under fire over a data scandal that came to light in late March. The scandal revealed that Facebook had been selling their users personal data to a company called Cambridge Analytica. The information that was collected was then used during the 2016 election to post advertisements on Facebook in support of Donald Trump. Along with the accusation of being biased, the scandal also raised concerns and questions about Facebook’s security and how their users information can be used “without consent.”

Zuckerberg later apologized both on the app and in newspaper ads across the U.S. and the United Kingdom. In the apology, he stated that because he started Facebook, he is responsible for what happens on the platform. He also stated that even though the specific issue with Cambridge Analytica is not longer a problem today, he plans to work to further secure the platform and make it safer for everyone going forward.

Latin teacher Parker Jackson did not hear about the Facebook scandal immediately, but said that she eventually found out through the grape vine.

“I thought it was scary,” Jackson said. “A lot of people don’t think about what they put online and who has access to that information.”

Facebook users are shown a “Terms of Service and Data Use Policy” before they confirm that they wish to make an account. Even before the information was revealed, and the company decided to rewrite and simplify their policy, the majority of users ignored it. By clicking “Sign Up,” users are giving Facebook and other social media sites access to more information than they realize.

“Terms of Service” gives Facebook permission to use the name, profile picture, content, and information of the consented user to sell to commercial and advertising companies. Users also give the application permission to track their web searches. The section that has sparked controversy says that the company has permission to use the information they gather, on and off the app, for research.

This isn’t new information. Facebook has had this in place since the application first launched back in 2004.

“It makes me uncomfortable,” sophomore Claire Halterman said. “I don’t think I have a lot of personal information on Facebook, but it’s still nerve-racking to think about.”

The news affected both young students as well as teachers and other adults as well.

“I know a lot of older people use Facebook and I figured that they were going to be really upset,” Jackson said. “I assumed it would ‘blow up’ and it did.”

Sophomore Gretta Overmyer said that she joined Facebook after the scandal had come to light, knowing full well that when she gave her information to the company, there was a chance that it could be used.

“I think that we as young people don’t care as much because we have grown up in the digital age, and most of us understand to some degree that our information is being shared,” Overmyer said.

If users want to keep their information private, they should either not make accounts to begin with or watch what they post, regardless of whether or not they have a “private” account. Another option is to look over the “Terms of Service and Data Use Policy” document so that users know exactly what they’re signing up for. That way, if something were to happen, it would not come as a surprise.

“You have to be careful about what you put online,” Jackson said. “I think that you need to expect for things like this to happen. Nothing that you put online is really private.”

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Facebook data mining scandal causes tension with users