Lots of talk about the data mining scandal… Lets face it! Users sacrifice their privacy and data for the privilege of using Facebook platform. Whether it was morally correct or malicious to leak the data to 3rd party data analytics company is up for debate. Facebook along with Google are two big giants for selling customer information so why should we be surprised? It is about time CEO Mark Zuckerberg feels the wrath! Wake-up call for users. Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself or you can always find an alternative.
Target of Data Mining scandal
Loyal users have lots of memories tied to Facebook and it serves as a great networking tool. It doesn’t mean that you are allowed to build a psychological profile of them for political gain. Cambridge Analytica in London is in hot water for collecting the data from users. Tens of millions of user data was used and could have affected U.S. election in 2016. Shameful and dishonorable act by Facebook. Zuckerberg is back-pedaling now and faces public scrutiny from Washington and its users. There is even possible Russian interference. Doesn’t help that Zuck was silent for days following the leaked data announcement. Clearly Facebook violates an early agreement to safeguard user data. I’m sorry, but you can’t harvest user data for political gain or influencing elections. Perhaps, it explains how the buffoon, Donald Trump, got elected?
Oh, c’mon Cher don’t be that way! How else am I going to find out about the latest clothing trends? Many disgruntled celebrities are deleting Facebook over series of blunders: privacy concerns, fake news and being a malicious advertising conduit. I don’t blame her and I believe this latest data leak could have been the “the last straw.”Some big profile companies even stopped advertising on Facebook, but the worst may yet to come. Yes, I realize the irony of cross-posting on Facebook. Where do we reach the tipping point? The novelty of networking and connecting globally and locally has lost its charm. Basically, what you have left is a malicious advertising platform and cesspool filled with fake news advertisements and articles. It gets old pretty fast.
Did you read the fine print?
Didn’t you read the legal fine print agreeing to give away your first born child? Okay, not exactly, but you get the point! If privacy and security is a concern, you may want to stay away from free, ad-sponsored, data mining apps. Spotify and other apps that serve up misleading advertisements or in-app purchase popups are just as bad. Better yet invest in a social networking app that is not so invested in selling customer data. There are plenty of paid apps and subscriptions, that don’t rely on data mining and ad tracking. I guess you get what you pay for!
What’s the alternative?
Whatever happened to connecting with email, phone or in person? It has been replaced with smartphone apps and technology. Twitter, Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, Snapchat, Instagram are among the most popular social networking tools. Until Facebook security gets a facelift, try one of those apps or use an encrypted instant messengers i.e. Gajim, Signal, Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram, Conversations or ChatSecure. I recommend a IM client supporting XMPP+Omemo protocol. Of course, no software is perfect or completely secure especially when it comes to usuability and adoptability. Good luck in convincing your friends “to jump ship.”
Tighten the privacy reins
One of the downfalls of using a free app is you give up some of your privacy and data. I get it. However, where does a company draw the line without angering their subscribers? Zuckerberg needs to tighten up the reins: abuse of customer’s data and fake news should not be tolerated. This could mean another nail in the coffin for Facebook. Apple and iOS with its walled garden may have minor faults, but it mostly protects their customer’s data from being leaked to third parties. The user is prompted to allow or deny notifications and what to share with Apple or 3rd party developers. I wish I could say the same thing for Google or Facebook which are basically advertising companies.
Mark Zuckerberg’s image may be tainted, but Facebook will survive with its legion of loyal Facebook fans and subscribers. Look for him to save face and tweak some privacy settings on Facebook. Just a slap on the wrist from security and privacy watch dogs. Maybe it is time to delete Facebook?