Facebook Fraud

Social media website, Facebook, is under fire after their recent security scandal.

Amber Brunett, Junior Writer

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The technological explosion of the 21st century has made the American people increasingly dependent on technology for occupational purposes and, most importantly, communication. By 2016, roughly 94 percent of American teenagers had a social media service. Although Snapchat and Instagram are the most popular, a majority of teens have a Facebook account to stay connected with their family.

To protect their digital footprint, teenagers are taught to watch what they post on social media, but is that enough to protect their privacy? Although social medias are required by Privacy Laws to protect their user’s information, that doesn’t make companies immune to hackers.

March of 2018, the largest known Facebook data leak disclosed up to 87 million Facebook users’ profiles. The British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, improperly obtained the data to build voter profiles. The company was interested in how Facebook’s directed ads could affect American political campaigns.

A former Cambridge Employee, Christopher Wylie, testified to the Parliament a few days later that the company helped swing the 2016 votes in favor in Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. During this process, Cambridge Analytica was in contact with Lukoil, a Russian oil giant, who was also interested in Facebook. Although Lukoil denied being a client, it still prompted the questions about Russian involvement in the American government.

Along with Facebook profiles, many apps connected to facebook were hacked. If an app  required a facebook login, it could have been disclosed. Cambridge Analytica primarily gathered information from a psychological quiz hosted by Qualtrics, which has a Facebook login.

Though teenagers might not be familiar with all of Facebook’s applications, many are familiar with one app Facebook owns: Instagram. Next to Snapchat, Instagram is the most popular social media for teenagers; however, this makes Instagram even more susceptible to Facebook’s massive data leak.

Many teenagers with social medias are aware of the risk that comes with the app.

“You can’t trust your information on any website because someone could hack into it. That risk comes with the territory,” junior Violet Lulgjuraj said.

In Washington, lawmakers demanded Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder, to testify before Congress. The Federal Trade Commission had also moved to investigate whether Facebook had violated any early agreements to safeguard user data.

During his first interview with Congress, Mark Zuckerberg was bombarded with questions on how the program worked. Instead of focussing on the data leak, the lawyers spent the whole first meeting trying to understand what social media was and how it could direct ads to different demographics. The case will most likely stretch on longer because the lawyers do not not know how to address any problems that arise on the internet.

When asked what he was doing about the data leak, Mark Zuckerberg said that he was investigating “tens of thousands of apps” to see what information Cambridge Analytica had collected.

While some students want to remain as private as possible, others are comfortable with being seen online.

“If you put information online, then you want it to be seen,” sophomore Devon McNair said.

However, those wishing to remain private may not know what to do to.

Rather than depending on privacy laws to protect one’s safety, students should take initiative in making their social medias safe to use. Social medias requires specific information from its users so they can contact users personally if need to.

Information collected on most social medias:

  • Full name
  • Email address or phone number
  • Profile photo user submits
  • Username or login
  • Location or gender

Although some information is required to create accounts on some social medias, one should always give as little information as possible. It is crucial to keep all social medias separate because information needed on one website can easily be found on another. Most social media’s have privacy settings that can be turned on.

Another option is to create an email specifically for online use, to separate one’s private and public image.

“This is why I use an alias online,” sophomore Venezia Shaiya said.

The extra steps one takes to stay safe may not seem like a lot, but the security it gives is important in protecting one’s information from strangers-and perhaps the app itself.

Facebook’s major data leak isn’t the main problem on social media- rather it is the just a reminder that the internet can’t be trusted with any individual’s information. Although Facebook was affected this time around, any social media could be attacked next. It is crucial to keep personal information how it is-personal.