Social Media Hour

Social network concern: Facebook mishandling user’s data

People are concerned about whether they should use Facebook or not, as there is no security for their private information. Facebook is being fined for mishandling users’ data, and this is not the first time it has happened. Facebook has been accused of the same issue several times earlier. People usually sign up for companies like Facebook, being a reputable company with the assurance that their data is safe and will not be used indiscriminately. This raises a massive issue for the people because their private information is being leaked and used for nefarious reasons. It is, therefore, an enormous breach of their trust and privacy that people are putting on digital platforms.


Facebook has been historically involved in many issues of user data mishandling. As far as recent Facebook data breaches go, one of the most recent ones was back in April of 2021, when more than 500 million users were affected. The company announced that hackers were able to break into Facebook’s servers. These hackers were then allegedly able to access the profiles, pictures and other personal data of users. This sensitive data included locations, phone numbers, full names, and sometimes e-mail addresses. More than 500 million people were affected in more than 106 different countries because of this data breach. Also, in October 2021, nearly 1.5 billion Facebook users’ data was found for sale on an online hacker forum. These records were collected by scraping publicly available data.


Moreover, at the start of this timeline, all the way back in 2013, Facebook found a bug that had been leaking the personal data of more than 6 million people to unauthorized viewers for more than a year. E-mail addresses and phone numbers were exposed, and anybody who knew anything about the people could easily access their information. The interesting part about this technical glitch is that it actually started in 2012, but Facebook didn’t notice it until 2013.


Therefore, it is clear from all of these occurrences that Facebook does not care about protecting user data, and harsh measures should be taken against the company, just as European Union did.


European Union fined Meta 1.3 billion over the transfer of user’s data to the US. Europe’s highest court (ECJ) ruled in 2020 and repeatedly said that an agreement between the EU-US for data transfer was invalid and concluded that Washington does not have sufficient systems to protect European data. But the ECJ left the door open for companies to use SCCs, saying the data transfer to any other third country was valid as long as it ensured an “adequate level of data protection.” So it is that test Meta has been found to have failed. Even after repeated warnings by the EU, Facebook continued transferring data without taking adequate measures to protect data to the US, a clear violation of ECJ rules.

Experts believe Meta’s privacy practises will remain the same despite the record-breaking size of the fine. Therefore, we may draw the conclusion from the history of Facebook data breaches that we have discussed above that user data is not secure with Facebook and can be used inappropriately. As a result, we should take precautions to secure our information by removing anything from our Facebook profile that might be harmful to us.


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