Facebook does not respect user privacy

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By: Jordan Baker, Columnist

With advances in modern technology and an increased use of telecommunications via text and e-message, access to metadata and specific data points have never been easier.

The competition among top corporations such as Facebook and politicians to cater to the individual, in their minds, has made data a poisonous necessity.  

The recent revelations concerning the senseless invasion of privacy by Facebook reveals that they have become thieves and distributors of your personal data, messages, and posts. A few weeks ago, a political scandal erupted concerning the data handoff from Facebook to Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that has been linked with the Trump campaign.

Without the knowledge of its users, Cambridge Analytica, and any politician associated with them, can now target said users with accurate precision to sway their vote. In the recent few days, it has come to light that Facebook has spied on any messages people have sent via Messenger. Additionally, third parties associated with Facebook have been allowed access to their private posts, and possibly their messages, further denigrating the idea of personal privacy.

The actions Facebook has taken seem in stark contrast to its founder’s public views on privacy. Back in 2004,  Zuckerberg stated that Facebook had built in privacy options that users could protect themselves with against non-friends viewing their information and posts.

In 2005, in a talk at Harvard, Zuckerberg stated, “We have a lot of stuff that we put in place to make sure that people don’t aggregate information off of Facebook.”

This is all in contrast to his private remarks to colleagues and friends early in Facebook’s creation. Zuckerberg called people who placed private information on Facebook, information which should only be visible to friends, “dumb f***s.”

He even gave his friend access to emails of people on Facebook.

While Zuckerberg went through the banal routine of apology, the millions of people on Facebook who have had their personal information stolen as a result of placing them privately on Facebook cannot simply reverse the past. Zuckerberg created a false sense of security and took advantage of people by gaining their trust. That trust has, is and will always be broken as long as people like Zuckerberg have access to such private information.

Now that confidence in Facebook and Zuckerberg are down due to recent scandals, it makes you ponder how we can prevent such brazen acts in the future.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is a check on warrantless searches and seizures of private property. In this digital age, it is apparent that this Amendment must expand to protect Americans in the digital arena.

Information that is purposely made public is one thing. However, selling off data and prying on private conversations is not only reckless but disgraceful, private corporation or not.

With this in mind, it is time for Zuckerberg to step down officially from Facebook in all capacities, fire any employees and senior level managers who contributed or allowed such despicable acts to occur, retrieve and destroy all private data that was handed out to third parties and finally, to revise their privacy policy to accurately reflect their positions and actions.

If not, Americans will continue to be brushed aside and treated with disrespect, all in the name of “Big Data.”