Facebook the *irresponsible 🔑 keeper

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-dump-facebook-or-at-least-put-it-in-the-dog-house-for-a-while-1521846110?tesla=y

8 comments

  1. Very enticing post. I deleted my Facebook last summer after graduating undergrad. I found it to be a huge time waster for me and I would scroll through the timeline and watch videos that I truly didn’t care about just to pass the time. Like you said with the uncoupling of applications, it was a NIGHTMARE. I was on the phone with Spotify to make sure I didn’t lose my account and lose all of my saved songs. To be honest it was about two to three days of decoupling apps but once it was over it has been super nice since. I now know all of my usernames and passwords for everything, and I’ve started to jump into other activities like learning another language to use my time more productively. I absolutely love not having a Facebook anymore, and hearing all of this alarming information being leaked makes me feel that much better about my choice. I would encourage everyone who doesn’t use the platform to truly keep in touch to delete their’s and see how much more you can do with your time.

  2. That’s a great post. Actually external applications are the main reason I still have Facebook. I hardly care about the content but that feature is just too convenient to give up Facebook. Like Mike said you could probably couple days to decouple the app. But for new apps I am so used to sign up through Facebook now that creating an account seems like a lot of effort (which it is really not). When it comes to the #deletefacebook movement I think it is a good way to show Facebook’s management that they need to take data security more serious. It is also a good lesson for other platforms which will hopefully will make them look at their security standards and see if they are acceptable. However, I do not think the movement is big enough to last long and significantly affect Facebook usage. Nowadays so many information is thrown at us, most people will forget about the data scandal soon in my opinion. Similarly, data security is too of intangible issue since most people do not feel the consequences directly which also makes the issue less memorable.

  3. I have to agree with @kseniapekhtere1 with her opinion on the overall movement effecting Facebook long-term, although this breach is extremely serious and widespread the average user (such as myself) isn’t directly feeling the effects of it. Personally, I only use Facebook at times as a time waster for scrolling funny videos and I rarely post besides the occasional profile picture update. So I don’t believe I have an extremely viable opinion on this scandal other than I expected a large data breach from a company to eventually happen and it just so happened to be Facebook.

    At this point in time Facebook is too big of a social media giant to fail from one swift blow, however this “learning curve” if you care to call it that is something that the entire industry needed to see. Hopefully this will prompt other companies to tighten up their security and restrict access to developers overall making peoples personal information safer and more secure. Other companies such as Apple, Google, and LinkedIn who rely heavily on data also have the potential for something like this to happen and I hope they see what Facebook did wrong and protect their consumers from similar problems.

  4. Great post, Roark! I laughed at your jab about Facebook spoon feeding users ads they thought about only yesterday.
    In my opinion, I don’t care what data is pulled from my profile to better advertise to my liking (although, like you mentioned when advertisers seem to know exactly what I was thinking about a day prior it does creep me out a bit). I rarely post on Facebook, but when I do I understand that hundreds, maybe thousands of people can see what I share. So, if that includes brands and companies who want to advertise to me, so be it.
    Even so, I understand people feeling uncomfortable that companies can access their data without their direct consent. Echoing Michael and Ksenia, I agree in that I do not believe this will effect Facebook long-term, but it does serve as a learning lesson for both FB on a security level and users on a sharing level.

  5. Wonderfully written Roark. I have to say when I first heard the news about this, I actually did think of your prior post. I also thought about the complexities of facebook and how unrealistic the #DeleteFacebook movement is – along with how terrifying that reality is. I appreciated in your post how you took the time to discuss the different levels one could take in an attempt to remove themselves from Facebook’s grasp – and how that decision may effect other online channels. This whole scandal won’t cause me to join the exodus of Facebook, but oh boy is it scary.

  6. Nice post, and I really do regret that we haven’t had class to discuss these issues. I do think FB was genuinely blindsided by these issues and haven’t handled the press well. Yet, as I said when interviewed by a Canadian paper on the issues, the answer is simple – stop using Facebook if you don’t like it. I don’t think most people will (for many of the reasons described above), but I do think that vocal users can get FB to change its ways.

  7. Nice post Roarke! I don’t think I will ever be able to delete my facebook, just because I really don’t want to go through the process of disconnecting all my other apps to it. I also feel as though many people in our generation have lots and lots of photos on the site and deleting their account would cause them to lose access to lots of memories. I do believe that this data leak will further prevent younger people from joining Facebook. I know none of my sister’s friends (sophomores in high school) have facebook and she actually made fun of me over easter because she was like “well my data hasn’t been leaked on snapchat yet!” If Facebook is trying to continue to grow and stay relevant with the younger generation they are going to have to keep things under better lock. I personally don’t mind them having my data as most apps and websites now track our data which makes marketing to people easier and more directed. Like you said I would rather have ads that are creepy accurate than ads that are really random and feel like they are just taking up space. Facebook won’t fail due to this mishap but with each breach, they lose some opportunity for growth.

  8. I have always thought the issue of personal data on Facebook is like a double-edged sword. Although most of times we find ad trackers are annoying, it sometimes help us find what we want or even make us to buy things online. If a customer purchases products through ad pop-ups on social media pages, it is a success for business sides for sure. Such information sharing function through Facebook is clearly benefit for users. On the other hand, as you mention throughout the post, the exposure/leakage of personal data to the third party is a red flag. In addition to #DeleteFacebook movement, the recent FB scandal has caused so many users to actual leave Facebook. I was also concerned that it led me to write a blog post about privacy on Facebook, but I still value the good sides of Facebook as I watched a European soccer match through Facebook live earlier today.

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