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Facebook privacy: how and why to achieve it

In this May, 26, 2010 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about the social network site's new privacy settings in Palo Alto, Calif.  Dr. Ed Zuckerberg, father of Mark Zuckerberg, said in a radio interview Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, that Mark's early exposure to computers helped inspire his interest and expertise in technology.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

In this May, 26, 2010 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about the social network site's new privacy settings in Palo Alto, Calif. Dr. Ed Zuckerberg, father of Mark Zuckerberg, said in a radio interview Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, that Mark's early exposure to computers helped inspire his interest and expertise in technology. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Amie Ouderkirk, Staff writer

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87 million Facebook users were recently victims of data theft, according to The New York Times. The stolen data included quiz results, personal information, as well as private messages. This act was featured in the news after Cambridge Analytica was discovered using the data for research for the past 4 years. Many members still do not know if their data was stolen or not. Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, testified before Congress last week. The issue was about privacy and selling data of Facebook users to advertising companies. Recently the buzz has been hitting Facebook users, as they discovered that Facebook ranks your political views based off your posts and personalizes your ads based off your interests.

So, what is the problem with seeing relevant articles in your feed rather than shuffling through a variety of ads from dentures to baby products to college textbooks? The reason this is such a big deal is because both Facebook users, and non-users, did not give consent for anyone to use their data and were never informed, along with the fact that it is just a little creepy. According to Wired Magazine, Facebook, along with other apps on our phones, have access to “microphone, cameras, camera roll, location services, calendar, contacts, motion sensors, and speech recognition.” The writer of this article, Lauren Goode, describes the abilities of these app permissions and how they can track the phones location to the floor and continue scanning the phone even when the app is not in use.

When a website offers privacy options, as Facebook does, it is expected that the privacy should be in the users control. For example, the option to only show your posts to friends should not include bots and secretive stalking companies. Having the option offers a false sense of security to the users. In the article “Mark Zuckerberg’s Privacy Shell Game” from Wired Magazine, Zuckerberg claims Facebook users are in complete control of how their data is used and who can access it. Though he later discloses that the process to do this is difficult to navigate and a lengthy process by design. Also, if you already have Facebook and did not immediately complete this process, they already have your data.

If Zuckerberg wants to sell data, he needs to alert the users that their information is not private, or go through with the stated policy. Before a potential participant of any site signs up, he or she should know what they are getting into. An article on Tomsguide.com shows a variety of “ad blocking tracking tools” which allow people to be aware of any trackers on their site and gives the individual the ability to opt out of said trackers. This solution battles the problem directly until the government fixes the issue of online privacy.

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