Are you planning to delete your Facebook Account because of privacy concerns?
You can, if you fully believe in illegal Facebook personal data collection or data theft by a third party data collection firm Cambridge Analytica.
But before deleting your Facebook account, do consider some other factors and realities.
Did Cambridge Analytica successfully accessed the personal or user behavioral data of 60 million or 6 crore Facebook users?
Yes, in all likelihood it might have managed to collect the data of that many Facebook users.
But is it the only Company doing that?
No. In fact, there are thousands of small and big companies out there doing that. They may have access to even bigger volume of Facebook users’ personal data. Some of these companies are Google, Facebook, Twitter and any other platform which offers their service for FREE. It is only that when we signup for a new account, we rarely read the Terms of Service page. We simply check out the I agree or Agreed Box. If we start reading the TOS page then we will get to know that we are giving these platforms access to our data.
Another fact which must be noted is that any person or Group or political party or Company with a sizable following and popularity Online, is a paying customer of these data collection Companies. These companies sell the data, behavioral and surfing pattern based insights of internet users who’re using their platform/service for free.
Is there any truth in Cambridge Analytica having ties with President Trump’s 2016 campaign, Russian rigging of US 2016 Presidential elections?
There can be. Because any political party or politician or leader, who is using technology, internet or social media (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc.) for the propagation of its ideology, for online marketing during the build-up to an election or for making a positive image of itself through media, is taking services of these data collection companies.
We as internet users or media consumers often fail to see this basic fact because we choose articles, videos, news or any such political content on the basis of our ideological biases. If said in simple words, this means that to a BJP sympathizer any content portraying or questioning BJP or its ideology in a negative light instantly becomes a paid content or a marketing strategy. The same is true for a Congress sympathizer. When the fact of the matter is — Every political party or leader or politician with a significant following online is using the same marketing model (Pay for insights or data).
Has Rahul Gandhi or his party took or is planning take Cambridge Analytica’s services?
May be. Because every political party maintaining and growing some form of sizable online presence has to take the services of such companies and strategists. After all, a political party has little or no expertise in the area to begin with. BJP is a stellar example of someone who keeps employing such strategists.
So before you choose to delete your Facebook account, you must consider the above points.
It may be possible that there may be some simple Dos and Donts which you can include in your habit to remain safe to an extent from such threats to your personal data online. But deleting a social networking account may not be the solution because everyone right from your mobile service provider to Google to your favorite politician or political party may be getting access to your data. So deleting an account may not be sufficient.
Instead, you can make changes to your privacy settings on Facebook or Twitter.
You can also stop installing every fancy app which is shared on Facebook. Remember, there is nothing like FREE online. So you can choose NOT to install free applications such a photo editor etc. as well.
To conclude, the recent Facebook data breach news looks sensational on many counts. To sum up, it seems that the people who once benefited from such data access are the ones shouting the most. Actually what is happening is — Those who were the early adopters of Social media and online marketing are trying to restrict the late adopters from adopting the tested model.
And finally, there is one simple way to use internet responsibly and safely: Simply start analyzing news or any content based on your own personal assessment of the Government’s performance on important questions directly affecting your level of living or day to day life.