I don’t want to say I told you so but…I TOLD YOU SO. Only a couple blog posts ago I wondered out loud if our willingness to let Facebook provide information to outside developers by using Facebook to sign in was something to worry about. Well, I don’t know if you all heard but Facebook has been loose-lipped with our data and unsurprisingly, PEOPLE CARE VERY MUCH. Given the substantial amount of key stakeholders who Facebook counts on to function properly, they have a mind boggling amount of people to placate and assure peace of mind in the coming weeks. These parties are not restricted to each individual user with a profile, it also includes advertisers and any company that has data which has a touchpoint with Facebook. These companies can face scrutiny by proxy by allowing Facebook to assume responsibility for sensitive data…companies like those that I mentioned in my earlier blog post surrounding the sign in and security responsibilities that they allow Facebook to shoulder.
Between 2007 and 2015, Facebook opened its platform to developers and this allowed outside apps to access a wide variety of user data. This user data was not restricted to the individual data of those who let the apps access facebook, but also data on those individuals’ friends as well, a clear boon for anyone attempting to beef up their marketing efforts.
Changes to this open door policy were implemented in 2015, disallowing apps to access the information of one’s friends and restricted the wide sweeping amounts of information that apps would get access to. However, while Facebook is undergoing a frantic process of reassuring its users, the damage has been done and the perception of the company is at an all time low. Stock has taken a massive hit and the #deletefacebook movement is growing fast with notable names like Elon Musk championing the newest social media backlash trend. So generally, people hate Facebook right now.
Amid the chaos it’s easy to become irate with no direction to focus the indignation but there are measures to take if you can’t stomach the thought of deleting your facebook full stop but are still intent on limiting the amount of personal data about you currently being exploited on the platform.
Ad tracking is probably one of the most skin crawling of the features which people feel violated by Facebook and this can be mitigated by adjusting your ad preferences to limit personal information like relationship status and job title. It allows one to “manage whether [Facebook] can show you ads intended to reach people based on these certain profile fields.” This will help prevent the platform from spoon feeding you ads which you were thinking about only yesterday. However, not everyone reacts the same way to this notion; there are those who feel preyed upon and there are those who prefer to see ads that might be more relevant to them rather than a wide smattering of ads which they have no interest in.
If adjusting these settings doesn’t do it for you, then the next step would be deactivating your account. This is the option for anyone whose social media anxiety won’t allow them to fully withdraw from the Facebook experience for good. Deactivating ensures the preservation of your account data and should you come back to the platform, nothing will be out of place.
Finally…if none of this is adequate and Facebook really has lost all your trust, deleting your account is an option, but it will require jumping through some hoops. You will have to go to Facebook’s Help Center and from there you can move forward. However, deletion can take a few days to initiate and the entire process is said to take up to 90 days to complete. After going through these motions you will be ready to join the #deletefacebook movement. I wonder though…how many people have already done this then come to realize that Facebook was more than just a way to creep on old friends, it was the universal keycard to their favorite other online platforms like Spotify. This instant decoupling must have thrown a lot of people for a loop since so many application used Facebook for instantly filling out information about new user accounts.
I’m curious, if anyone in our class has committed to the movement, have they encountered any unforeseen problems caused by Facebook no longer being linked to their external applications that either use Facebook information or simply use it to sign in? I know, this is a social media class so I may be asking this question to no one, but I’d still like to hear the class’s thoughts on one of the latest hits Facebook has taken, not to mention that it’s a double edged sword, they allowed personal data to escape and then it was used to help one of the most controversial political campaigns of the past decade.