Facebook cracked plate

Is Your Facebook Privacy Under Threat?

It’s been a busy few weeks for Facebook, particularly for he who could do no wrong – Mark Zuckerberg. In light of the recent news that has arisen from the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

For those of you who are not keeping up with the news, Cambridge Analytica is at the centre of the data misuse case. They are allegedly linked to the US elections and the Brexit Leave campaign in the UK, (which explains a lot).

Christopher Wylie an employee of the company came out as a whistleblower. He provided evidence that an algorithm had been created using the private Facebook data of 50 million users.

There were also concerns raised about the harvesting of information from Facebook messenger. This may be one of the reasons why Facebook took the decision to pause any further Bot creation. They have taken action to review all their third-party apps. This won’t affect anyone who has already created a bot but will affect anyone trying to create one today. (At the time of writing).

The public seems outraged by the idea that their information has been used this way. It’s given rise to a popular campaign on Twitter to ditch Facebook called #deleteFacebooknow. It’s wiped billions off their share value and damaged their reputation.

Some people who deleted their accounts claim that Facebook logs SMS texts and calls. Facebook, of course, denies this. Is it a surprise to anyone that Facebook (who own messenger and Whatsapp for that matter) has a log of user communications? Of course, they have but I expect no more than your mobile provider would have. Sorry… That’s cell phone for you US folks.

The issue is who else has can get access to that information.

Are people waking up to the fact that Facebook is free? Unless you’re a business user and using it for advertising that is.

Facebook make ALL their money from the information that people give them, for nothing.

The rules are clear… It reminds me of that not so old saying, “If the product is free, then you’re the product

What to do

Audit your Privacy Settings

facebook.com website seen through a blurred keyhole. Photography concept of data privacy issues.

Before you delete your account consider this

It may take up to 2 weeks to actually delete yourself from Facebook.

Do you tell people you’re leaving or do you ghost and go? Granted that’s not a big consideration. If you are leaving you’ll want to allow people the opportunity to connect with you on other platforms such as LinkedIn, WhatsApp or Twitter. Giving people notice might offer you the chance to make better use of these other platforms. It will also give your connections time to connect with you there.

Whichever way you go about it I’d go into the settings on Facebook and download a copy of your data. This is a detailed look at all your activity including your photos and videos. It’s actually interesting to see how active you have been over the years.

To do that:

  • Click at the top right of any Facebook page and select Settings
Facebook Settings
  • Click Download a copy of your Facebook data at the bottom of General Account Settings

  • Click Start My Archive
Download Facebook Data Screen

You might check out https://deletefacebook.com/guide just to see if there’s anything that I’ve missed.

I doubt that the dust has settled on this. It’s inevitable that FaceBook will continue to work hard to lock down their privacy settings. It’s already taken steps to align with the upcoming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). These are set to come into effect in May 2018. This requires greater accountability and transparency in the collection, processing and storage of personal information.
Facebook collects massive amounts of information on their users so we all expected them to get this right. Otherwise, they face massive fines and goodness knows how much more lost revenue.
I guess the message here is that we can’t control everything about the information that we share online, but we can control what we share. Legislation can help us with who can see and share our information, but in the end it’s up to us to take our data privacy seriously. We mustn’t assume that it’s anyone else’s responsibility but our own.

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