The idea that Facebook is an information farm has been around for several years now. And not all the comments on it are urban legends.
Going back some years, a group of researchers concluded in 2014 that the information collected by Facebook was enough to predict a person’s personality and preferences, better than their co-workers, their friends and, in some cases, even better than their colleagues. Your partners.
Ironically, the researchers in this study belong to the University of Cambridge and Stanford.
2018: A year of setbacks for Facebook
2018 has been a turbulent and busy year for Facebook, for several reasons.
First, the information leakage scandal known as Cambridge Analytica put the largest social network in the world in the eye of the hurricane, to such an extent that its CEO Mark Zuckerberg was summoned before a committee of congressmen of the United States Senate. they questioned it because of the way Facebook collects (and shares) information about its users.
Second, on May 25, the European Union put into force the General Regulation of Data Protection, GDPR, for its acronym in English.
In summary, this law mandates that all companies that have a presence in the European Union must make their terms and conditions more clear so that the user has the option of deciding whether or not to accept access to their data.
Changes to Facebook’s privacy terms had to happen quickly, if the company did not want to continue damaging its reputation.
For this reason, the Zuckerberg team accelerated the march in this direction and updated its terms and conditions before the deadline.
Here we analyze how Facebook raised these changes:
Changes in the privacy terms of Facebook Did something really change?
On July 11, The Guardian announced that the Office of the Information Commissioner of the United Kingdom (ICO) fined Facebook 500,000 pounds (about US $ 660,000) for being involved in the Cambridge Analytica scandal .
And although the fine of more than half a million dollars would be catastrophic for any company, Facebook is a matter of pennies that can pay with petty cash.
The Twitter community raised it with a hint of sarcasm:
Facebook fined GBP 500,000 = 5,5 minutes revenue from first quarter of 2018.
— Joe Armstrong (@joeerl) July 11, 2018
Facebook fined the price of a vanilla spiced latte for serious customer data breaches https://t.co/wNrNQmws4l
— The Independent (@Independent) July 11, 2018
Regarding the new laws implemented by the European Union, the journalist Guillermo Cid believes that the changes in the privacy terms of Facebook are rather a facelift.
Although Facebook explains more clearly how it manages your data, there is no doubt that the designers of the social network are geniuses of interface design.
It’s funny how the notification that appears in the app, is designed for you to “accept” everything, without questioning anything. If you decide not to accept, this means that you will not be able to continue using Facebook.
This question of “either you accept or you are out” makes it clear that you can not use Facebook without the platform having access to your information.
This tweet illustrates it well:
Hecho el refresco de consentimientos en #Facebook con motivo del RGPD y: 1) hay mucha letra pequeña 2) botones poco descriptivos (sobretodo los que implican no consentir, el de “Aceptar y continuar” mucho más grande y claro) pic.twitter.com/tfKd4RVaER
— Jorge Morell Ramos (@Jorge_Morell) April 20, 2018
Another important aspect in the changes in Facebook’s privacy terms is that you can now decide if you allow companies outside of Facebook to use your data to send you personalized advertising.
But even if you decide that you do not authorize it, you have no choice about whether Facebook (or third parties) stores your information.
This shows that Facebook is in a battle of interpretation of laws, and will seek the legal mechanisms to get away with it.
In one way or another, and despite the fines, Facebook will remain the largest database in the world, and for this, we will continue to observe, analyzing each click and each tap of our digital behavior.