Facebook And The Right To Privacy

Early this year the CEO of Facebook had to spend two days of questioning by US lawmakers as to why they failed to safeguard as many as 87 million users’ privacy after the New York Times, the UK’s Guardian and Observer newspapers broke news that millions of Facebook users’ data had been leaked to President Donald Trump-linked political consulting firm called Cambridge Analytica.

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The last Facebook privacy policy update before the one released on April 19th 2018 was in 2016. The new policy comes in at more than 4200 words and the language is meant to be easy to understand but that’s still a lot of words to get through. Facebook the social media giant says it wants to be “black and white” in explaining to its consumers about how its products work. But its policies on collecting information about its consumers may leave many scratching their heads. Facebook finds information about its consumers from a mixture of comments, thoughts, videos and photos ones posts on their timeline and gleans data from their interactions with other consumers as well as the posts and pages they like on each page.

The social media giant goes on to collect seven different kinds of information provided you are just consuming its services. It gets information from the computer, phone, tablet or any gadget you are using to consume its service. The information it takes include data about the version of software you are running, how much storage you may have left, how low your battery is, it can also access information about devices that are connected to the same network as the current consumer. This kind of information is often used for something known as fingerprinting which implies how websites may identify you based on all the data they may collect from your device or devices. Finger printing allows companies to tailor adverts to you but remember all this information is just collected from you by you simply just being a consumer which I see as a privacy breach. Facebook policy says clearly they do not sell any of your information to anyone and they will never will but in large I see it does this by selling access to you. They say they use the information they have including the one about your interest, connections and actions to choose and personalize advertisements and other sponsored contents that they offer to the consumer.

Why is Facebook acting as a middle man if they are not interested in selling the consumers data or use it for making money? I mean I still don’t get this from Facebook and to use someone’s data in such a manner they ought to get the consumers consent first not only to collect and use without the consent of the consumer. Facebook the current social media giant allows different applications you are using through your Facebook account to collect data on your entire network of friends and you as the consumer interacting with the application is the only individual to give consent, in my view I see it can be wise for each individual whose information is to be affected to give consent. Facebook keeps the consumers data as long as it wants, I mean everyone should the write to be forgotten but why is it that Facebook keeps information about you that it got form others sources other than yourself. Everything Facebook learned about the consumer form data brokers, other consumers and other online platforms is kept for as long as Facebook wants. If you delete your account not to deactivate it the social media giant will only delete photos and status updates but keep all the other information but why?

When it comes to data policies I believe the right to privacy should be adhered to at all times but in Facebook the consumer is able to adjust the settings to change how much about them is shared other applications and how much of their profile is public but when it comes to data policy the consumer does not have much of a choice its either they take it or leave it and in this case leaving it means leaving Facebook, while they still keep what they want to keep about you. The service provided by Facebook are good but it’s my take that every consumer should be given the write to be forgotten especially if they request so or I they delete their accounts. Any information being collected about a consumer should have the direct consent of the consumer and not another party related to the consumer in my take the policy still needs some review in order to guarantee total privacy.

03 December 2019

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