Facebook and Privacy Issues

By: Alee Morgante

Many people question their privacy, especially when it comes to our online presence. At a young age, our parents teach us that we have to be careful on what we put on the internet because it never truly goes away. As we get older, our teachers tell us that future employers might use information you posted on Facebook and Instagram against you if you were to apply.

However, the big media world persuades us into sharing all the information. Our phone numbers, email addresses, photos, birthdays, religious views; it is all posted for the world to see. Even when setting your profile to private, you are facing the possibility of a huge risk.

The world’s largest social networking company admitted to a year-long breach in 2013. Facebook Inc. unveiled that the technical glitch in its archive leaked 6 million users’ phone numbers and email addresses. If a friend had some of your contact information, the bug basically allowed them to receive even more of the details. The breach started in 2012 but took over a year to even be noticed.

Once Facebook’s security staff caught it, they were able to fix the bug in less than 24 hours but that doesn’t take back the damage done. Facebook says they contacted all the users that were affected by the breach but it makes you question: how secure are we on the social media giant? If Facebook promises privacy and security but somehow releases millions of users’ information, how can we believe it won’t happen again?

In August 2015, a software engineer was able to harvest data from thousands of users through Facebook. Even the users who linked their mobile phone numbers to Facebook but had a private profile were effected. The engineer was able to access names, photos and locations through these mobile phone numbers. He had a random number generator and since one can be searched on Facebook via phone number, he inputted these random numbers and Facebook sent him thousands of profiles filled with information. It is believed that these could be used to create databases that could later be sold.

Facebook urges those who use it to check their privacy settings on every post. Posting pictures or information not available to the public is a way to prevent a possible leak.