Many millennials joined Facebook over a decade ago.
For those of us who have been active Facebook users since middle and high school, this social network has collected infinite knowledge about our browsing activities and interests, and possibly even predictions about our actions based on projected trends.
By checking the box that acknowledges Facebook’s terms and conditions, users are essentially signing away their right to privacy.
Some might find this is eerie, but we still use Facebook because of all the convenience it offers.
There is no such thing as true privacy on the Internet — especially in a data-driven society.
Facebook provides consumer value that is unmatched. Facebook is not only a hub of convenience and boredom-curing content, but it also organizes entire immediate networks that allows users to stay in the know about the lives of their long-lost friends from elementary school.
Facebook is not only a superficial source of social capital — it also provides ease and convenience when maintaining long-distance relationships and beginning new ones.
For college students, freshman year could have been made even more difficult had it not been for the class Facebook group where many found their roommates.
For activists, Facebook is one vast interconnected platform, a method for collective protest, planning events and sharing stories, failures and triumphs.
In the digital age, social media platforms are critical to igniting national and even global flames.
With all of the good that Facebook offers, increasing concerns about its lack of transparency and its “Big Brother”-like presence might provoke thought for some needed change.
It has been determined that Russian trolls manipulated the United States presidential election, using Facebook users as their pawns. Even more recently, Cambridge Analytica was exposed for acquiring information on over 50 million Facebook users and using it for political gain.
Facebook’s lack of effective action with regards to user data have prompted people to consider deleting their accounts.
It’s not necessarily surprising that Facebook has been amassing a great amount of personal information about its users. What is troubling, however, is how that information might be used without our knowledge or consent.
But people stand to lose a lot by deleting Facebook, as it is an empire integrated into many of the sites and apps we use everyday.
We should consider if and how our government can protect us from the potential harm that too much data implies.
As of now, section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 provides legal immunity for websites from any potentially harmful information published by their users. Without this act, social networks like Facebook could not have been created.
However, isn’t it time to bring website regulations into the 21st century?
It is important to consider potential implications of increased government regulation over social media sites.
Without immediate action, it is likely that we will increased social media manipulation in our future, which can have extreme political implications. It has already been predicted that Russia will influence the 2018 U.S. elections.
We don’t know how exactly the data collected on us can be used against us, so we need to actively decide if we want to continue to use social networks in their current form.