We ask a lot of Facebook. On one hand we want the social media giant to make it easier for us to communicate with our friends and to better engage with our community. We also see it as an entertainment platform and even as a proxy for trashy magazines as we read weird stories and complete some goofy quizzes. But many of us also expect it to be a reliable news source that doesn't spread disinformation. Now that the furore over the Cambridge Analytica scandal has receded, it's time to look at whether things are any better and what Facebook is doing.
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The company that started the snowball of pain rolling for Facebook, Cambridge Analytica is shutting down. The company is filing for insolvency and bankruptcy in the UK and US respectively following revelations they abused Facebook's poorly policed data access rules. And while there may be plenty of people cheering on the sidelines, the collapse of the infamous firm isn't likely to make all that much difference.
Given events of recent weeks, it seems reasonable to try and pull all the latest Facebook snafus into one place. So, each week, we'll be bringing you the latest revelations that have come to light about Facebook's data collection, sharing and leaking.
Today, we're looking at the expanding breadth of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, how Facebook "spies" on your private messages and new revelations about healthcare data.
The situation ahead of Facebook and it's billion plus users is unique. Never, in human history, has a private company had the responsibility to manage the personal data of such a vast and diverse group of people. It has given them massive power and, to head into comic-book territory, this has handed them huge responsibility.
However, it's a responsibility they have, on many occasions, failed to properly take. The Cambridge Analytica incident is the latest in a history of issues. And fixing the systemic issues the social network faces will take more than a wishy-washy statement by the founder and CEO.
With Facebook embroiled in a massive data harvesting and privacy abuse scandal, following the Cambridge Analytica revelations, now is a good time to revisit all your Facebook security settings and think about what you're sharing on the world's most dominant social network. Here's our guide to Facebook security and privacy.
With all the outrage at revelations that Cambridge Analytica was breaching Facebook's rules and harvesting massive swathes of data and concern at how much of our personal information is being used by Facebook, you'd think organisations would be a little more circumspect about data collection. But the Gold Coast council, which is hosting the Commonwealth Games has taken a different view. Their new city-wide Wi-Fi service will be harvesting visitor data.
I read an interesting quote over the weekend. To paraphrase, it said that if someone built a massive data gathering system a couple of decades ago, it would be called a surveillance operation. Today, it's called social media. What we now know is that a data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, harvested data from about 50 million Facebook profiles and used their analysis to predict how they would vote and to craft messages that would influence what they would do at the ballot box during the 2016 US Presidential election. The issues here are significant and go to the heart of how data is used.