The other side to Facebook’s data breach

Facebook’s recent data breach has been reported has a systematical error that is the result of poor management. However, the blame game seems to only be restricted to the U.S and many parts of Europe. Many other communities outside of the western echo-chamber, many in the developing world feel very different about Facebook.

 

Speaking with Héctor Antolínez a journalist based in Caracas, Venezuela, I was presented with the idea that perhaps the responsibility of secure, and ethically appropriate use was down to the individual user “How many times do people sit and think about what they are posting”. That is the real problem explained Hector, people haven’t grasped the idea that “…posting on social media is like posting to the world not just to your closest friends.”

 

In fact, this thought is reciprocated by fellow journalist and radio host Noah Wapera based in Uganda. I asked Noah whether or not he enjoyed using Facebook. “So much, but sometimes it’s annoying mostly with when you get in connection with wrong people who use Facebook wrongly and tag me in things that are unproductive.” He added that he also used the site for business “I have done more business and made more money through Facebook marketing than any other platforms. I use Facebook to advertise my services, network, and to keep in touch with my clients.” He tells me that he would not be able to viably craft a career in media without it.

 

Perhaps then, deleting Facebook which has been campaigned for on social media with the hashtag #DeleteFacebook is not the answer. Maybe the #DeleteFacebook movement illustrates what is wrong with our instantaneous connectivity.

The responses overwhelmingly point the blame at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and this anger isn’t completely misplaced. Zuckerberg would have been aware of the use and collection of data as CEO, and the leader of the company should have been more responsible after he was trusted with billions of data files.

 

Zuckerberg broke his silence on the matter yesterday giving an interview with CNN’s Laurie Segall. During which he explained how he could have never guessed his responsibility back in 2004 when Facebook was created “…That a big part of my responsibilities today would be to help protect the integrity of elections against interference from other governments… umm I wouldn’t have believed”

 

 

He continued to identify that Facebook had realised the flaws in the operation over the past few years have been cracking down on bad agents, bots (possibly Russian) and data protection.

 

But while Zuckerberg and Facebook, continue to apologise and promise a better, more secure Facebook future, we should all have a moment of self-reflection. This Facebook data breach was not the first or the last, and while that reality exists we should all think about how we use social media.

 

Last month Facebook celebrated its 14th birthday, that is 14-years of posting, sharing, and commenting, and maybe you aren’t proud of everyone. During those 14-years how many of us have read the T&C’s presented to use when we sign up, or update? I for one have never, but in light of recent events, it may be the only way to fully understand what we are signing up for, and what the company can do with your data. If that seems too much then we should all be more aware of what posting online actually means.

 

For example, just because something is posted in a private, or group chat doesn’t mean it is secure. Posting under a fake name can be traced back to you and pretty easily if you know how. Sharing an article that you later find out to be fake can be avoided with a small amount of legwork, which isn’t something users have been doing, as the results of Trump election, and Brexit campaign suggested. Just being aware of the above would go a long way to making Facebook a better, safer and more ethical platform to communicate over.

By Luke Ambrose

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