Privacy in the Information Age

Why should we trust our information with people who would give it away freely? That’s the question that many were forced to ask when it was revealed that Facebook sold people’s info to Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm.  This data was used to help target people with ads during the presidential election. Facebook willingly gave people´s information away, knowing that they would be betraying their trust.

Most people who had their account information leaked agreed to this when they agreed to Facebook’s terms and conditions when they signed up.  The problem lies with people who didn’t consent to have their information being given to Facebook. For example, if you have a friend who uses Facebook messenger and chose to upload their contacts from your phone, Facebook has your information. This is illegal.

The problem not only lies with Facebook but also its subsidiary, Instagram.  Instagram is that it’s largely used by minors. Technically this is illegal, but since most people under thirteen using Instagram use a fake age, there is kind of a gray area in terms of legality.   Since Instagram has no efficient way of checking someone’s age besides the age that is given when they’re account is set up, they can’t tell if someone is a minor online.

Social media privacy is a difficult issue because we, by living in this digital age, have already surrendered our privacy.  When you agree to a company’s terms and conditions, you are basically saying that you agree to have that company see everything you decide to post.

We live in an age where information is currency, each piece the more valuable.  Companies like Facebook and Google wouldn’t exist without the amount of information that they have, and that makes them all the more dangerous.  So before you sign up for Instagram or Facebook or even create a Google account, make sure you are prepared to give away your privacy.

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