Could you live without Facebook?

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Volunteer writer Alannah Joy gives Label her take on the scandal engulfing a social media platform which pretty much all of us use…

The Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data breach has been a hot topic on the news in 2018. For those of you that aren’t aware of the specific details, here’s a brief explanation and discussion on the scandal that has us all questioning, should we delete Facebook?

Cambridge Analytica is a British Political data analysis firm whose main purpose is to analyse data concerned with the electoral process. As boring and technical as their role sounds, controversy arose when whistle-blowers revealed that personal information from over 50 million Facebook users had been sold to the company and was then used to manipulate voter opinions by politicians who hired the firm. It’s safe to say the scandal damaged Facebook’s reputation massively; with the average person spending around 40 minutes of their day on Facebook it really highlighted how as a society we shouldn’t be investing so much of our lives into a website that has proven it cannot be trusted with our data.

What many people don’t know is there’s an option to download the entirety of your Facebook data (essentially a complete timeline of your Facebook habits). This includes every message you’ve ever sent and every file you’ve downloaded irrespective if you’ve deleted it or not. If this data were only available to you, I’d have less worries. However, with the recent data breach, Facebook have shown that the data they store isn’t exclusively available to you and quite worryingly (at the right price) can be acquired with ease and used to the gain of politicians. Although some might think that third parties having their personal data isn’t that big of a deal, it’s easy to underestimate how influenced we are by social media nowadays.

The effects of the scandal work in a similar manner to how pop up adverts appear down the side of your Facebook newsfeed; notice how you’ll spend hours trailing the web for that perfect FND outfit and when you check your Facebook feed later it’ll have numerous suggestions on the latest bralette or skirt? You’re more than likely find it helpful, if we look into the logistics of it, it’s a result of firms using your data to find links which match your preferences. When this concept is applied to the electoral process and Cambridge Analytica are involved, it’s hard to ignore the obscene abuse of power that has occurred here. It has been proved that American politicians such as Ted Cruz used this data to try and manipulate voters and the company was even hired by the Trump presidential campaign.

After a rather lengthy rant about Facebook’s misuse of data I ask you this question, could you live without Facebook? When I think about it I think I could, so what’s stopping me? Well a lot of things revolve around social media and that’s included in the Loughborough culture.  If the Student’s union has a big announcement to make it’ll be posted on Facebook. When Label publish this article they’ll do so via their Instagram and Facebook page. I suppose if we wish to stay in the loop we can’t deny that social media is a massive part of doing so. If were going to reclaim ourselves from social media it has to be a collective effort but for now the world is undeniably digital, so rather than deleting my account I’d rather prefer Facebook just does their job and doesn’t sell my data to third parties.

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About Author

After a year spent as Label's Head of Design, I'm back as News Editor whilst on my placement year. If there's anything at all you'd like to discuss or write about, email me: liamhopley@lsu.co.uk.

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