Opinion — 13 April 2018

Tim Guan

@TIM_GUAN30

Selfie, snap, and post: sharing your information with the world wide web sounds like a very private thing to do.

As simple as a mouse click or screen tap, any privacy you thought you had and cherished is immediately forfeited with every log-in.

And if you really care about your privacy — there’s a very simple solution: log off.

Unapologetically, the cold hard truth is: your privacy and social media lives are an oxymoron because the words “private” and “social” don’t exactly have the same connotation.

With the recent and scandalous uproar involving Facebook and its seemingly insidious connection to data research firm Cambridge Analytica, multitudes of Facebook and social media users have voiced their concerns about protecting their precious online activity.

Ironically, many people tend to forget that the whole point of social media is to share your life with others.

In relation to this social media debacle and outrage, the only group to blame are the users themselves.

Unfortunately, this is the consequence of the ignorance of many Facebook users overlooking their own deliberate choice to use social media and entrusting their supposedly “private” information to a third-party — albeit knowingly and publicly.   Within Facebook’s policies and terms of service (for those who actually read it,) updated as of Jan. 30, 2015: “Facebook has the right to collect information on users pertaining to their device use, browsing history on third-party websites, connection and wi-fi networks, to the people you communicate with, etc.”

The list goes on for dozens of pages, and without a doubt, everyone reads them for the sake of their “privacy.”

Unsurprisingly, this misuse of user data has been known by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg since 2013 when the company hired “Cambridge University professor Aleksandr Kogan to create a data gatherer algorithm disguised as a personality quiz to collect useful and potentially profitable information on user activities and experiences,” according to the Washington Post.

Zuckerberg has expressed little to no remorse or responsibility for this data breach and misuse of supposedly “private” user info.

In fact, back in early 2010, he stated that “privacy is no longer the social norm.” In his defense, he is not at fault: the user is.

In this day and age of social media, privacy is a fantasy.

Remarkably, this type of information sharing was once no problem.

Only now, with the emphasis on increased surveillance and extreme transparency of the internet has this phenomenon kicked off to the point it has gained the relevance of sensationalistic news and headlines: all of which that has Facebook sponsoring and being the center of it.

Otherwise, the best decision to secure your privacy if you care about is quite simple: log off and delete your account.

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Tim Guan

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