A data breach recently came to light after it was made public that over 87 million Facebook users could have various parts of their personal profile information floating around in cyberspace. Facebook has done nothing about it other than make an attempt to apologize. That’s outrageous.
The information, which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg said was originally collected for “academic purposes,” is now being stored in various parts of the world, including Russia. According to the former Cambridge Analytica research director, users have no idea what information of theirs, if any, is out there.
The information collected, Facebook said, was most likely “scraped by malicious actors” who searched people based off of their phone numbers and email addresses and were then able to take information from their profiles.
Although by sometime next week Facebook is supposed to announce which pieces of data were shared around the globe, the damage has already been done and is now virtually irreversible. Alongside this, Zuckerburg announced that the site will begin to work on limiting what kind of information people are able to get from a person’s public profile. Still, this should have been done a long time ago.
It is because of all of this that Facebook not only broke all of the rules, but also broke the trust of the public everywhere.
Yes, of course, there are risks when it comes to social media, but those risks should not include the mishandling of millions of users information and sharing it across the world with random strangers.
Within the week, all 2.2 billion Facebook users will receive a notice titled “Protecting Your Information” included with a link to see what personal information is being shared with apps embedded within the platform. Users will be able to shut off apps individually and to turn off third-party access. One can also explore Facebook’s Privacy Settings to further learn about the ways users are protected and the ways they are not.
Yet, even if users were to partake in this link to secure themselves, it still does not change the fact that their information has potentially already been released; not to mention, Facebook discovered that this information had possibly been harvested in late 2015, but failed to alert users at the time.
Zuckerberg is expected to testify before Congress in two high-profile hearings this week, acknowledging that he made a huge mistake in failing to own up to the company’s responsibilities. It’s a mistake that millions of active users can agree with.
This mistake has caused Zuckerberg and the rest of the Facebook team to reconstruct and improve their settings page so it is easier for users to find all the information the company has collected regarding the individual. Users can expect to see these redesigned policies during the week.