Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics
Facebook has been touted as the largest networking site existing today. However, of late, the social media giant has elicited concerns among all cliques of people regarding privacy issues. This has been fuelled by revelations that the platform is not only collecting personal and sensitive data from its users, but also non-users. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently admitted to undertaking this practice and in his defence, reiterated that this was done for security issues. However, what is more astounding is that the company has not revealed yet how it uses information collected from its users and non-users.
Individuals whose information and data are shared risk being harmed or manipulated in one way or another. A good example is the case of Cambridge Analytica, who’s in their political manovours, mined data from more than 80 million Facebook users and that of their friends and targeted them with messages which were based on their individual personality. All these information were revealed by the company’s marketing team. Early this year, the New York Times and the Guardian newspapers reported that the company, Cambridge Analytica had employed a quiz app in improperly obtaining personal data from Facebook to establish potential voters for President Donald Trump. Mark Zuckerberg also acknowledges that user’s information is used in helping marketers and advertisers target their advertisements in a more effective manner. What this showcases is that there are so many other third parties who use data from Facebook users out of their knowledge. This therefore, jeopardizes people’s privacy and confidentiality. However, according to Zuckerberg, the reason why advertisers are allowed to have access to personal data is due to the fact that the service itself is free and that the payment from marketers and advertisers makes it possible to run the service as free. The question which then needs to be answered is whether or not users will be comfortable in using the service for free and have their information shared or be required to pay a subscription fee but their information not to be used?
This hub sought to address Facebook privacy issues. Accordingly, it has been established that user’s information and data is accessed by third parties without their knowledge. Furthermore, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO acknowledged that some information is passed on to marketers and advertisers to make their ads more targeted. However, this is an infringement to a person’s privacy. Nonetheless, the fact that the platform is a free service creates a dilemma among users and stakeholders on how their information can be withheld from advertisers while still making the service free.