Facebook is a part of daily life for billions of people across the globe. Virtually everyone has a Facebook account, even if they don’t check it on a daily, or even weekly basis. On the other hand, many are logged into Facebook on a twenty-four hour basis. This is a staggering statistic, and perhaps one of the biggest technological revolutions in history.
But a recent scandal has not only thrown the reputation of Facebook into serious question, but likewise the reputation of an entire presidential campaign. United Kingdom based company Cambridge Analytica has been pinpointed as the focused point of an incredible security breach, having stolen private information from hundreds of thousands of Facebook users. This information, it has been reported, was used to create software that targeted users for a barrage of personalised propaganda information.
And now a Tweet from Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, has further deepened the levels of growing mistrust.
What Is A Surveillance Company?
The investigation is still on going, but many are already saying that the scandal will have smeared the reputation of Facebook, and all social media, for decades. The blame seems to be on Cambridge Analytica, who “stole” the information. But Edward Snowden has come forward to express his opinion, and his words are making waves across the world.
In one Tweet he stated, plainly, that Facebook is a surveillance company, and not a social media company as it claims to be. In his opinion, that Facebook calls itself a social media platform “is the biggest deception since the Department of War rebranded itself as the Department of Defence.” Chilling words, and perhaps true.
The same Tweet stated that “businesses that make money collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as surveillance companies.”
Is Facebook To Blame?
But this is all secondary to the on going scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica. The company is insisting that is has done no wrong, and complied with all rules and regulations put forward by Facebook. Facebook, on the other hand, are insisting that Cambridge Analytica stole information from them, and used it for illegal means. It seems that, unlike when you play at a casino online and you are assured that your data will not be shared with 3rd parties, sold or compromised in any way; Facebook’s rules and regulations are far more lax. It also seems like they are happy shifting the blame and making Cambridge Analytica the scapegoat.
If Facebook did know about the data breach, however, it was months before the company took any action against Cambridge Analytica, making it seem relatively clear that the two companies were working cooperatively with one another, as opposed to any data being “stolen.”
It should be noted that other online companies such as casinos go to extraordinary lengths to keep user’s data safe, and do their best to secure player’s details at all times. The nature of the business calls for high security measures and the implementation thereof, especially as there are large sums of money involved. As Facebook is a free platform, it makes one think that maybe the saying If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product holds a lot of weight.
As Edward Snowden was quick to point out, as bluntly as he possibly could, “Facebook are not victims. They are accomplices.”
Zuckerberg On Trial
The on going investigation has seen well-known Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg be called in to testify, with images of the trial spreading virally across the world. The images show a deeply stressed and tense looking Zuckerberg, with the general consensus being that the multi-billionaire CEO is feeling some serious pressure.
The outcome of the trial could still be some way off, but public campaigns have already been launched, encouraging users to delete their Facebook accounts in protest to the scandal. A popular hashtag #deleteFacebook is doing the rounds. But will it really have any impact?
There have been many comments across the web that the public has not responded to the seriousness of the scandal as much as they should have. Given the public in general’s habit of reacting chaotically to scandals, it has been suggested that many seem to be letting the whole ordeal fly under the radar. “Such a scandal should cripple a company like Facebook,” one popular blogger said, “But it seems they may come out of this more or less unscathed.”
With “delete Facebook” campaigns aside, the public response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal does seem to be somewhat subdued. Given the absurd reach of Facebook, it would take a great deal to collapse the company, with perhaps such a scandal not being enough to cripple such a deeply spread, and deeply engrained social media network.