Facebook accused of massive breach of trust

“We made mistakes”: Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has said that he “deeply regrets” what happened.

Should people delete Facebook? It has emerged that data about millions of users was wrongly passed on to another company. As the crisis grows, some are choosing to log off for good.

What’s happening

Facebook is facing the biggest crisis in its history. Last weekend, newspapers published a whistleblower’s claim that the social media giant suffered a huge data breach. The news has shocked the public and caused Facebook’s value to tumble. A campaign called #DeleteFacebook is growing fast.

Find out more

In 2014, some people took part in a personality test via Facebook. As a result, data on 50 million users was passed on — without permission — to a company.

That company, Cambridge Analytica, says it can guess people’s personalities from this kind of information, then target adverts at them. Its staff has boasted of helping Donald Trump get elected.

Facebook knew this at the time, but did not alert the users. The whistleblower says that it did not even try very hard to make sure the data was deleted. Everyone involved denies wrongdoing.

People are asking how this could have happened, and questioning whether it is safe to use Facebook. The social network’s boss, Mark Zuckerberg, has promised to change the way it shares data with other groups.

Some say…

Time to delete Facebook. The companies are blaming each other for the breach, but it does not really matter who is at fault. The fact is that Facebook exists to sell your personal details to others, and you can never be sure whose hands it will end up in. The thought that people can “know” you and influence what you see online is just too creepy.

Others think…

It is easy to forget all the good Facebook does. It lets you express yourself, contact your friends and relatives, and so much more. Instead of deleting it, just be more careful. Do not post private things, and beware of sharing your info with apps on the website. After all, the internet is a fact of life. We must all learn to use it responsibly.

You Decide

  1. Does the world need Facebook?

Activities

  1. Spend a week without going on social media. Keep a journal of your thoughts about the experience. Will you go back to social media in a week? Why (not)?

Some People Say...

“Move fast and break things.”

Facebook’s former motto

What do you think?

Word Watch

Whistleblower
Somebody who exposes wrong or illegal behaviour in a company or other organisation.
Data breach
When someone breaks a law, rule or agreement, they are said to have committed a “breach”.
Value
The value of the company’s shares has fallen by over 10% in a few days. Mark Zuckerberg has personally lost billions of dollars.
Boasted
The science behind Cambridge Analytica’s methods is vague, and many experts doubt that the company had as much influence as it claims.

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