Should you #DeleteFacebook? Read What a Privacy Expert Has to Say…
In the midst of the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook outrage, the elephant is in the room. As most of us are decade-long Facebook users who have shared innumerable moments of our lives, what we like, what we do, (or simply been tagged in our most uncomfortable moments…) Our thoughts and fears are racing.
“Should I delete my account?”,
“How do I erase everything?”
“Is it too late?”,
“What will they do with my data?”
We’re not “Liking” it as much.
1.Facebook is being Facebook
What I mean is, Facebook is and has always been a “Data” company. That’s their true business. No one signs up on the platform if they don’t want to share their information to begin with. Understandably, once you decided to sign up on the platform at say 12 or 13 years old, data privacy was the least of your concerns. It just felt like you finally had a place to share all of your typical-teenage moments that no one really ever cared about.
If you’re seeking for privacy – Facebook is definitely not the place to look at.
Don’t get me wrong – we all impatiently ticked boxes to grant apps access to our data because we wanted to know “What Your Name Says About You” or “What You Will Look Like in 50 Years”. We’ve just been too naïve to realize what was actually happening.
Now, that’s a wakeup call.
2.The data leakage was for political concerns
Rest assured – one of the largest data leaks in Facebook’s history, that just happened a couple days ago, was essentially caused to influence the US election back in 2016. In other words, we are talking about Trump’s consultants who exploited the Facebook data of 50 million people in order to influence them at the ballot box. Additionally, the data might have been used for the Leave campaign in the Brexit referendum.
In other words, this massive leakage was only for political reasons – so you shouldn’t worry too much. Even if, undoubtedly, it raises awareness on the data that you provide…It’s just a “heads up”.
3.Nevertheless, a Privacy Expert says you should get out of the Facebook Ecosystem…
Mark Weinstein, CEO of MeWe and privacy advocate, believes that the “best defense is to immediately take yourself out of the Facebook data ecosystem.” His opinion doesn’t surprise us when considering that:
1. If you liked 150 pages on Facebook, Cambridge Analytica knows you better than your parents
2. Facebook creates a data packet on you that may include 2,000+ points of information.
3. Facebook can track everything – even your sleep…
Even if you want to follow Weinstein’s advice, chances are, you will still have all of your past content accessible on Facebook – and they will still be able to track you across the Web. They will still know what you do, who you talk to, what websites you visit, etc.
Mark continues by explaining that even Facebook’s privacy settings don’t even completely restrict the access of the general public to your feed.
But when thinking that, in any case, we will always be trackable by Facebook – Is it really worth deleting your account then?
It’s hard to decide.
If you are considering deleting your Facebook Account or simply want to secure your data, there are little tips:
1. Get a hold of your permanent digital record
It’s actually unbelievably easy to get a copy of ALL of your Facebook data. As nerve-racking as it sounds – it’s maybe something you should consider downloading. Imagine having all of your conversations, photos, videos, events, even pokes… on ONE document. This is the first step to deleting your account – if you don’t want to lose all of your content.
2.Delete or deactivate
Weirdly (or not weirdly) enough, finding the “Delete” button isn’t easy. It’s not on your settings or on your menu. It’s on an outside page which you can find here. You’re welcome.
Also, bear in mind that it takes a few days from the time you’ve clicked the button to the time that your account is actually 100% erased.
3.Since Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram, you might want to delete them too…
You probably didn’t think about this, right?
If you really want to stop providing so much of your data to Facebook, go ahead and delete these apps too… As Facebook owns both. When talking about WhatsApp, it’s important for you to know that “encrypted conversations” don’t mean that your conversations are private.
WhatsApp doesn’t have access to your data per say, but they have access to “Metadata” which, simply, means that they know your “activity records”. For example, they know who you’ve called at what time and for how long, but they don’t know what you discussed about. To know more about metadata and WhatsApp, have a read here.
To conclude, what happened to Facebook with Cambridge Analytica is just the illustration of a massive problem that is affecting all social media platforms today. At the end of the day, we are all “at risk” from the beginning of when we decide to sign up for any given social medium. At some point, any active internet user will be impacted. Reassuringly enough, with what’s happening right now, we are raising awareness on the importance of data privacy and we will start seeing a difference.
In fact, you might have heard about GDPR: the General Data Protection Regulation – the EU is stepping up its legal efforts to protect data, to ensure that users consent to data collection. These new privacy rules will go into effect on May 25th.
Is this Facebook – Cambridge Analytica scandal a blessing in disguise?