Facebook Privacy Policies: Controversies All Around

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Introduction

Have you heard about how Facebook always claims that they respect the privacy of all the people who use it? But there was a case concerning this particular aspect. It has been taken by storm ever since it started. This article will understand how it began, what covers this case, and more.

The Case Starts:

On March 17, 2018, an unsuspecting weekend, the New York Times and The Guardian brought documents from the inner depths of Cambridge Analytica into the light.

This was the matchstick to the enormous fire which resulted afterward for Facebook. Facebook came under severe scrutiny, and to follow up, Mark Zuckerberg said, “We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.” Many newspaper articles printed this on their front pages.

Cambridge Analytica captured many people’s personal information and profiles using Facebook, and the number of profiles was estimated to be 87 million.

A data-marketing firm operating under parent organization SCL Elections Ltd. Cambridge Analytica (US and UK) managed to get non-authorized personal information from 87 million US Facebook profiles.

The reports which are discovered are frightening. The fact that a company was able to steal so many personal profiles, not to mention succeeding in it without much trouble, and is willing to commit such a crime.

Many cases in the past and present will be there in the future. But the motive behind each such case matters a lot. It is speculated that Cambridge Analytica had a political push towards this.

The POV Of Cambridge Analytica

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, explained | The Verge

The days continued with the scandal, and Facebook suspended the company’s account regarding its “crime.” But what the company has to say is interesting in this regard.

They have denied all accusations and have stated that “Cambridge Analytica’s commercial and political divisions use social media platforms for marketing, delivering creative content to the audience. But they do not use or have the data of Facebook profiles.”

This is said due to one of the main accusations that the company used the personal information acquired to affect the 2016 American voting process, including Brexit, dating March 19.

The POV Of Facebook

In the light of such a massive scandal, which caused a considerable uproar among the masses, Facebook has stopped logging in with the help of any third-party apps. This was possible before, and it was very convenient, but with the risk of data leaks, such as email addresses, Facebook has stated, “Putting a limit on the data users receive when they sign up.” Mark Zuckerberg has made it a point to convey this.

Are Repercussions Coming Soon?

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) policy is aware that data privacy has to be taken seriously. Although this data scandal might not have been a full-on breach for the company, it ignited a global reaction and caused a drop in tech stocks. The question on everyone’s tongues is, will there be fines to pay by the concerned companies, whether innocent or guilty, purely because they were involved?

Will such a regulation be taken seriously and make the penalties such that companies will be more cautious in the future?

The Guardian has stated that “Facebook refuses to promise GDPR-style privacy protection for US users.” To be told precisely, the GDPR policy will only be standard for EU (European Union) people but not for non-EU people. Instead, Facebook is trying to implement many awareness devices to help users get complete privacy for their data.

Progress Of The Case

Facebook’s Initiative

Facebook, concerning the scandal, has started catering to the users by running educational videos in the news feeds and posting ‘HOW TO’ videos for people to know what to do. With around 20-30 billion users, Facebook has made a point that it will continuously post videos on various issues regarding privacy.

Facebook has admitted that its app is focused on giving everyone transparency and providing control over their data. They say that this scandal is proof that any plans can’t be fully proven and needs constant revision to help the users have their profiles safe and be able to use the app without any fear.

Mark Zuckerberg Lawsuit

The Facebook Lawsuit | CBC News: The National

The attorney general added Mark Zuckerberg to a consumer protection lawsuit to personally make him pay for financial and other penalties. Karl Racine, the attorney, has stated that in the internal documents and many interviews, Zuckerberg played a very active role in many critical decisions regarding the case.

With Facebook being at the center of antitrust and consumer protection lawsuits, it is no wonder that huge companies and many organizations have to be very careful if they want to make it big and profit without landing in a scandal. It has been proven in the Facebook case that privacy is an integral part of top reputation is to be maintained.

Recent Highlights 

Facebook’s parent company Meta has finally decided to settle the privacy lawsuit, which has been going on for a long, on February 16, 2022. The initial start of the case quickly developed into almost 21 related cases varying from tracking and data privacy issues.

Although the case was thought to be closed in 2017 after a series of amendments to the complaint, it was quickly reinstated in 2020, citing privacy violations and Facebook’s unlawful profits from alleged parties. With this development, the company benefitted from the sale of users’ data.

The US Supreme Court declined to take the case, so it returned to the trial court for further negotiations. Finally, only the Facebook users who used third-party websites between April 22 and September 26, dating back to 2011, can submit a claim.

In addition, the deletion of user data that Facebook has collected, allegedly in an unlawful way, and the $90 million in a non-revisionary settlement fund.

At the same time, Meta has said that this settlement is a business-driven decision; this will probably be the most noteworthy data privacy action settlement in the United States. As stated above, Facebook and Meta have faced privacy-related issues. One such was in 2019, which resulted in a $5 billion fine.

Following up on such cases, new laws in California, Virginia, and Colorado will be effective from 2023. 

Conclusion

Though it’s an exciting app that connects people worldwide, there are many controversies around it, and there are trust issues among people, which makes it less reliable when disclosing confidential matters.

From Lawzik’s point of view, it is a widespread problem, and no matter the solution, problems will come up. Both sides suffered because of this case, and the people were caught in this crossfire. 

As a result, we feel that users should restrict their usage only to sharing some entertaining content and some of the necessary information to be passed on during a crisis so that nothing personal can be disclosed, which can put our lives at risk.

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