#DeleteFacebook#, Should we say goodbye to Facebook?

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Michael.O, Online English Teacher at Acadsoc.

Michael.O, Online English Teacher at Acadsoc. 

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Our Ironman, Elon Mask just removed Facebook accounts of Tesla and SpaceX(The company which launched his car into space). Wow, once again, he shocks the world with action and sends out a signal to Zuckerberg: be careful about what you are doing.

We are all familiar with what Facebook has done and failed the trust of her followers. Without proper awareness and authorisation of users, Facebook indirectly leaked 50 million accounts’ information to a third-party company. Though Zuckerberg made a statement on March 21 and apologised, the reputation of Facebook has been broadly challenged and questioned. The stock trend of Facebook told us how investors and the market evaluated the loss of Facebook. From March 18 until March 21, Facebook lost 36.4 billion USD in the security market, and its share price once suffered a 7.92% drop on March 19.

Should we delete our Facebook accounts and uninstall Facebook in PC and smartphones?

I don’t know your answer, but I won’t sweep Facebook to scrap heap.My wife shares her shopping list, pictures with our kid, exciting news and rumours on Facebook every week. I use Facebook less frequently but still, may share my new article or other’s research on it. The campaign #DeleteFacebook# itself is a freak, a self-contradict movement since its birth. The protest against social media impressed and appealed so many attendees rapidly via social media mainly on twitter. We feel unsafe for Facebook’s security policy, means we prefer other social media as safer choices? After deleting Facebook, will you give up using Twitter and Instagram as well? No matter you like it or not, we have been slaves to social media for a decade. For many people, my friends and myself, it has become our lifestyle. The first idea comes up in your mind if you want to share something is doubtlessly-social media, no matter Facebook, Twitter or other products.

But I will stop using Facebook for a while until Zuckerberg, and his company finish the investigation and hearing from US government. And what Zuckerberg will present to the public and what will be Facebook’s next action. Automatic companies can recall their cars and remedy so I might pardon Facebook another chance this time. If they learned the lesson and improve their privacy policy, it can be a gospel to all social media users. This scandal is not only related to Facebook but can alert all IT giants based in Silicon Valley, indicating a necessity for stricter privacy protection in the future to keep their customers.

How can I protect my privacy if keep using social media?

privacy-protecionThe only solution is to keep your privacy offline. If possible, you can write it down in a notebook, in traditional ways. If I have to use social media, my solution is to give ‘false’ information. Use newly created Email address and randomly selected birthday, gender and hobbies, etc. Apparently, don’t leave your exact living address, phone number or pictures anywhere. As my friend Scott discussed, the legislation seems to be our only way out in the long run. Individuals are too powerless and suffer from severe information asymmetry when facing big companies.

Maybe Zuckerberg is right at this point there is no absolute security of data in our time. When registering for a new account in social media and other third-party Apps, rare people would read the privacy policy carefully. Even if a few carefully finish the document word for word, can you request the service provider to remove/revise some terms risky to you? In the past, we may keep our privacy by locking our doors and windows. Now, not you, but social media brands are holding the key to your locks.

We can change settings in our account to prevent strangers from viewing our profile. Facebook itself, and Zuckerberg’s business partners are apparently not on the list of strangers. Cambridge Analytics, the trigger of data scandal this time, paid Facebook to display Ads. If you click on their links, you will be asked to attend a paid survey. Subsequently, Cambridge Analytics will request for authorisation to your Facebook profile. Many attendees might be aware that CA will grab information from their Facebook account, but it remains vague-what kind of information will be processed? For what purpose? Stored in which position? Who else will be authorised to see and use it?…With merely two hundred and seventy thousand downloads, CA grabbed 50 million users’ information. Sounds incredible? CA can access and take away other persons’ information from your friend list.

Don’t overreact to privacy leakage?

Some experts claim not worry about your privacy because companies care more about the trend and whole feature shown by mining big data instead of any individual, which can allow them to better understand their customer and increase sales.  It seems to be reasonable. But I would like to ask in reply: If a thief stole your money but donate them to charity, will he/she be pardoned for theft? It is tricky and contemptible to transfer the public’s focus in this way, by claiming that thieves are using our privacy for something good. No matter how they process or use the data, it is always illegal and immoral to do so without users’ awareness and authorisation.

And another voice from Zuckerberg that our information should be more and more ‘social’ in the future. I remembered he expressed such point soon after founding Facebook and I believe it is still his goal for now. However, Zuckerberg might ignore a fact: It takes only a few years for technology shifting to grab/process our information more efficiently. However, it may take a few decades or centuries for people to change their concept of privacy.




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