Become Facebook's consumer instead of its product

By Samantha Moffett, OPINION EDITOR
On April 15, 2018

Facebook is under fire for a privacy breach affecting more than 87 million users, and regulations affecting all users could be on the way. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE 

With Facebook under the microscope, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook did not seem keen to the idea of changing the social media site’s business model. The hearing of Zuckerberg’s testimony exemplified that the proposed ideas from Congress on how to regulate Facebook were not efficient options for the company.

If we are going to continue to use Facebook, as users we must also learn how to crackdown on the site and protect ourselves. We must stop being Facebook’s product and become Facebook’s consumer.

During the hearing, Congress showed that it is not equipped to decide Facebook’s user policy. Hypothetical situations proposed by Congress were shut down by Zuckerberg, stating that there is a “core misunderstanding” of how Facebook works in regard to user information.

If Congress does not understand how Facebook works, they cannot effectively or efficiently fix it. However, as users of Facebook, we understand our right to privacy. If we want to regulate Facebook’s privacy policy, it can begin with us while we wait for Congress and Facebook to make necessary changes.

When Facebook was alerted in 2015 that 87 million profiles were collected by Cambridge Analytica, a data consulting firm, those users were not notified and the process of notifying these users is still underway. This fact should raise questions about other mediums that have access to our information that we are unsuspecting of, like Facebook applications.

The applications that are run through Facebook may seem like harmless fun, but tens of thousands of apps are being investigated for data misuse, as reported by New Scientist. These apps are likely to be selling our personal information to outside companies for their own benefit.

Posting on Facebook for public view can also be problematic, as we cannot be sure who is viewing our page. Having the private, “friends only” setting on each of your posts can help to eliminate unwanted, outside viewership.

If Congress wants to regulate Facebook, following the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation model, which states that every user has the right to be informed of where their information is going and that data has the right to be erased upon request of a user, could be a step in the right direction.  

As users of Facebook, we should be concerned about the status of our privacy. We should make our own strides to protect ourselves and stay informed on new regulations that could be in Facebook's future. 

 

Samantha Moffett is a sophomore majoring in mass communications.

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