Glitch leads to 14 million private posts shared on Facebook: Can the social media giant ever grant sufficient privacy to users?

  12-Jun-2018 12:25:21

Facebook Social Media Tech. Privacy

We humans don’t need to blow a trumpet saying that social media is not what it used to be, that there is something wrong with it. Someone or the other has been in such a situation.

We are surrounded by a facade that helps social media hide its entire wrongdoings and maybe that is the reason we are apprehensive when we see a minor scrolling through different social media platforms or maybe it was the scandal involving Facebook that put millions of users data at risk, which in a way made people aware that they had shared their most intimate details with a social media giant that even after guaranteeing its users safety could not live up to the promise.

The main problem with social media today is that they have outgrown themselves and only revolve around the money-making social system that pushes them to keep evolving. Facebook can’t stop harvesting our data the same way a farmer can’t stop harvesting his crops- in simple words, it is the soul of the media giant.

This year Facebook shared with the world that a bug in their system made accounts of approximately 14 million users public without any prior warning. In their defence, Facebook stated that this unfortunate incident happened while trying out a new feature known as “featured items”. This started a series of events for the company, who was still reeling with the after-effects of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that came to light in the month of March which saw the data of 89 million users being stolen and exchanged with the research firm.

Mark Zuckerburg in a recent interview stated that he is ready to give answers to the questions the Congress asks him in relation to Face book’s scandal involving the research firm Cambridge analytica. The firm that most notably worked for Trump’s campaign before the 2016 presidential election, is in the middle of a scandal about how data of millions of users was collected from Facebook without the users knowing about it. Zuckerburg in an interview admitted that the worse that could happen for his company would be the increase in regulation of data that would surely bring down the social media giant’s advertising business which mostly relies on the collection of user data. Zuckerburg also stated that the first mistake that they made was to make its data available to third-party developers without proper supervision. In order to rectify its mistakes and gain back the trust the company lost, Zuckerburg said that Facebook will start to look into matters in order to be certain if any deviser mishandled the set rules in the same the research firm Cambridge analytica did.

The scandal or in simpler words controversy involving Facebook and Cambridge analytica was the most recent problem surrounding the social media giant but this is not the only problem to plague Facebook. A few problems that have troubled facebook are:

  • The internal struggles that the company faced after a statement written by Facebook's vice president in 2016 angered the management and employees alike. In the statement, the vice president said that it more important that the company evolves and grows rather than focussing on its safety concerns.
  • One of the most famous stories during the 2016 presidential election was Facebook’s role in helping the Russians to spread their political messages across the much talked about social network. Facebook acknowledged the fact that a lot of Russian accounts bought more than 100,000 in advertisements which according to the intelligence agencies were used to alter or influence the election process in the favor of Donald Trump.
  • According to Facebook, the third party developers could obtain information about users by just using some sort of a script that fed in phone numbers or email id’s of various users to create a large database. By looking at facts, an official from the company said that this was probably the only way that the public profiles on Facebook were scrapped without coming under anyone’s notice.
  • Mark Zuckerburg was questioned when he revealed that Facebook helped pass through anti- Rohingya hogwash through the scans that Facebook tends to take after its users have exchanged messages in between them. In response to this, Zuckerburg stated that if something wrong was being passed, we would have detected such an anomaly and stopped such hate messages from being passed on and in response to this six companies signed a collective letter stating that the messenger provided by Facebook does not feature a reporting option because of which such precarious messages were passed on to people who did not even know each other.

Therefore we know that the social media has betrayed the trust of its users and not lived up to the bar it set. The increasing displeasure with certain social media outlets has been reflected due to the scandals that have taken place but it would be wrong on our part to assume that this is the only identity of a social media platform. The main idea of social media is to bring people together of similar or different interests, promote new forms of creative aspects etc. All of this should not be forgotten because of the failed attempts of the people who govern the social media empire.