Facebook has over two billion users in 2018. That means that almost one-third of the world population has a Facebook account. It also means that over one billion people are trusting Facebook with everything from how much they like cat videos to their location at all times. While Facebook has generally had a good reputation with privacy, they still allowed 50 million accounts to be data-mined and the information used to influence the 2016 election.
I don’t generally give in to rumors and conspiracy but this time the evidence is mounting against Facebook. According to The New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, apologized for allowing 50 million accounts to be harvested by Cambridge Analytica. However, The New York Times said his apology “fell short of a full-throated apology.” And this is the problem with men like Zuckerberg…they believe they are invulnerable, and that they shouldn’t have to answer for their mistakes.
Facebook has been in the spotlight since only a month after the conclusion of the 2016 election. It has been said that Russia was the one meddling with the election and influencing the win for Donald Trump. However, Cambridge Analytica is in the UK, and it would appear that they did far more than any confirmed Russian agency. Cambridge Analytica had the data of 50 million people, and used it to tailor ads to people who were leaning towards Trump but weren’t sure yet.
While 50 million doesn’t seem like such a big number in comparison to the over two billion monthly Facebook users, it should still be viewed as dangerously high. Next thing you know, 100 million accounts have been exposed, then 200 million, then 300 million, and so on. And I’m not dropping conspiracy theories; I’m simply saying that if we let Cambridge Analytica and Facebook throw around our privacy like this, eventually there won't be privacy to throw around.
Facebook already uses complex data-mining algorithms to read your Facebook Messenger messages to tailor ads to interests you express privately to your friends and family through Messenger. A simple example of this is that if you mention a red BMX bike to your friend over Messenger, it’s very likely that you will see an ad in Facebook about a red BMX. But no, not every time someone mentions a red BMX do they see it on their Facebook timeline.
Facebook is in a very hot pot of water, and they probably won’t be done for a while. They have betrayed the trust of people around the world. And this isn’t even the first time they’ve done it. I don’t believe Facebook is on its way out, but there is legitimate fear for privacy on Facebook. There has even been a campaign started (#DeleteFacebook) that encourages you to delete your Facebook account to protect your privacy and bring awareness to how broken Facebook is.
The First Amendment gives Americans the right to free speech. But free speech remains a mixed bag; within it you have Nazis who have a place where, to a point, they can legally identify with Nazi ideology without being arrested. However, on the other side of that, free speech is great because without it, we probably wouldn’t have political parties. A quick side note is that Nazi Germany did NOT have free speech, and you could be arrested and executed for your opinions.
Facebook has been blatantly violating your First Amendment right to free speech for awhile now. But they’re not silencing the political Left—they’re openly shutting down the political Right. Many posts by conservative users of Facebook openly supporting the 2nd amendment, or slamming abortion, have been deleted by the social media giant. But posts supporting gun control and abortion, among other topics, have been looked over by Facebook, even if they are openly offensive or inappropriate.
What makes America great is the hundreds of different opinions that exist on any given matter, so don’t let Facebook judge which opinions have to go, and which ones get to stay.
I remember being so excited to get my Facebook account and officially become part of the largest social media community in the world. But now Facebook just bums me out. Their offenses are not easy to overlook, and as I said before, we probably won’t be able to ever overlook them. But as a reminder, never let Facebook take away your right to privacy, and above all, never let Facebook take away your voice.