The social network, Facebook, and a company called Cambridge Analytica are under fire by the general public due to the uncovering of some unsettling information. Cambridge Analytica acquired data of more than 50 million Facebook users and used it to influence voters during the 2016 presidential election. The company was hired by Trump’s presidential party to aid in the campaign; and given all the bad press surrounding the election, there is no question why this is controversial.
Facebook announced on Friday that they would be suspending Cambridge Analytica due to unethical use of data, but that does not mean the social network is cleared from trouble. Ever since Trump won the election, Facebook has been under constant fire for showcasing fake news to its billions of users. Now, with this new controversy at hand, Zuckerberg is nowhere to be seen or heard. A report has said that the CEO of Facebook is set to give a statement on March 21st or the 22nd regarding the situation. A representative said that Zuckerberg wanted to wait to generate a statement that would “unify” everyone, rather than sound rushed if he had originally spoken when reports first started coming out.
What does this all mean to Facebook users, though?
Well, it really not only affects Facebook users, but anyone who uses social media platforms is affected. Companies like these use the profiles of its users to harvest data (what you share, who you interact with, what pages you’ve liked) and sell it to other companies for advertising purposes. If people have allowed third party users access to their accounts and have cookies enabled, then that is how users give their data away. If companies truly use it for marketing, then there really is no harm because consumers will be able to see content targeted towards them. But, when data is used to influence the way you vote and create some type of psychological warfare, then that is when it really presents a problem.
As much as social media has been a great step towards bridging the gap between any two topics, it has given way to some highly unethical uses.
Hopefully, the Cambridge Analytica scandal will force companies to take better care of its consumers before they lose them all.