After a long day of school, I opened my computer and logged into my facebook account to see a pop-up notification titled “Protecting Your Information”. Immediately, I became panicked at the thought of my privacy being violated by random companies and unauthorized individuals. In light of recent events, discussion about social media and private networks has been increasing. With prevailing social media, like Facebook, under speculation for violating privacy rights, the “Terms and Conditions” that most people skip over when creating an account is becoming more and more relevant. Most users are completely unaware of their rights on their favorite platforms and are ignorant of how their content is being monitored.
Just last week, Facebook faced immense pressure with accusations of violating user rights by using facial recognition software to analyze photos, as well as disclosing private user information to a third party. Cambridge Analytica, the political consultancy working under Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election was among the biggest. To me, the fact that these claims are true lowers mine and I’m sure many other users’ trust in social media platforms. While there are many stigmas around social media and how they “steal your information” and how easy it is to get hacked, the fact that platforms themselves are using information in favor of politics furthers the people’s distrust in the government and internet content sharing websites.
87 million people. 87 million accounts. 87 million private lives violated to potentially aid a political campaign. Facebook had the great responsibility of protecting their user’s rights and privacy. What is being done to fix this problem? The recently active EU law is the future of social media privacy rights by limiting what third-party companies can do with online data. Any collection, distribution, or usage regardless of private information is strictly prohibited and will result in heavy fining if these terms are violated. While I agree with these terms and I am glad these laws are being initiated, I wonder, why weren’t they in place before? How much of my information is already in the cloud and what difference does it make now? Either way, these large social media platforms should be monitored to ensure that they are closely following these terms and conditions set upon them. It’s my privacy and it’s my life. When I update my profile picture or change my facebook status, I shouldn’t have to worry about who else is watching.
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