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The Facebook Privacy Scandal

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“The Federal Trade Commission has approved a fine of roughly $5 billion against Facebook for mishandling users’ personal information, according to three people briefed on the vote, in what would be a landmark settlement that signals a newly aggressive stance by regulators toward the country’s most powerful technology companies,” ( ). Besides for the fine, Facebook also has to give more insight of how data is collected when it comes to the users. This is one of the biggest fines that many have seen, especially when it comes to online platforms. According to N.Y. Times, Facebook has been violating laws and agreements since 2011. “That earlier settlement which came after the company was accused of deceiving people about how it handled their data, required the company to revamp its privacy practices,” ( ). The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also has filed claims with Facebook because of their targeted advertisements. “The Department of Housing and Urban Development alleged that Facebook’s targeted advertising platform violates the Fair Housing Act, ‘encouraging, enabling, and causing’ unlawful discrimination by restricting who can view housing ads,” ( ). By doing this, landlords and realtors can exclude people such as people with kids, people of specific cultures or ethnicities, or people that have service animals. Another issue with the company is that hackers were able to get into users accounts and steal their information. Hackers try to steal information such as name and address and they are able to get into their other social media platforms. This goes hand and hand with the invasion of privacy. More claims against the company have been that they are not up front with what data they take whenever you do sign in or make an account. There are instances where people will click on the button that say save your password. When this happens, employees for the company are able to see the users’ passwords in a directory. Lastly, the final major issue that has been happening with Facebook is the facial recognition system. Whenever people upload photos, you are given the option to tag people in them. Facebook has started using this to “suggest” that it could possibly be the person that is actually in the picture. More and more claims show up as time goes on with this company and they continue to get into trouble for it.

A law that was broken in this case is the discrimination law for the Fair Housing Act. “The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities,” (HUD WEBSITE). The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), filed a report because Facebook targets specific people when it comes to housing. “HUD claimed that Facebook mines users’ extensive personal data and uses characteristics protected by law – race, color, national origin, religion, familiar status, sex and disability – to determine who can view housing ads, even when it’s not the advertiser’s intent,” (WASHINGTON). According to the HUD, relators and landlords could pick and choose who their advertisements were shown to, and who would be excluded. This law applies because of the categories of race and gender specifically. According to the article, “It also announced several steps to address the issue, including a separate advertising portal for housing, employment, and credit ads that offers significantly less targeting options, and a new page where us users can search for and view current housing-related ads even if they didn’t appear on their New Feed,” (NEW ARTICLE). The organization is trying to sue the company in order to seek damages for anyone was harmed by the advertisements.

The second law shown is the Privacy Act. “The purpose of the Privacy Act is to balance the government’s need to maintain information about individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy stemming from federal agencies’ collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information, “ ( ). This law goes with the Facebook scandal because of the aspect of internet privacy and spreading private information. Hackers have been able to get into Facebook accounts and go to apps that are linked to the peoples accounts. Some of these platforms include Spotify, Instagram, and multiple others. More than 50 million users were affected, and the hackers try to access information such as name, gender, and where they have lived. There have been multiple software flaws that make it easy for hackers to get into the accounts. The rather vulnerable aspects of the company have made it a problem because of how often they have compromised information.

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The third law shown is the Breach of Data. “A data breach is an incident where information is stolen or taken from a system without the knowledge or authorization of the systems owner,” (TRENDMICRO). This breach can cause a lot of damage for companies because their users will not want to use the platform anymore if they know their information can be compromised. The company has the option to store your password whenever you sign onto the app or website. By doing this, the employees are able to see a directory of emails and passwords of everyone that has logged in that way. Another instance is where they ask for your email passwords and whenever you type it in, the company imports your contacts without consent.

“The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from individuals who live in the European Union (EU),” ( ). Users must be given insight into what the website will take from them if they continue using them. This means that it could possibly collect your data and that you are giving your permission to do it. You have to be notified and this could be shown when you are asked to agree that ‘cookies’ are used. The GDPR has been used over seas to help users control their personal data. This helps websites when making sure information is collected legally and, in a way, where you will not get compromised.

The General Data Protection Regulation has benefits that are used to support their purpose. Some benefits include clear consent rules, the right to be forgotten, improved data security, and third-party compliance. Whenever you go onto a website, companies have to make consent forms easy to understand so that the users will be able to understand and agree to the terms. When they need private information, they will make it known that they want it so you can willingly agree. If you give your permission and decide you do not want them to use or have it anymore, you can back out and they will erase it. You could also make corrections with the information you submit; they do this to make it easier to change information or correct any possible typos. Encryption is used on most websites to help fight off their hackers. Although some do not report it, most companies and organizations report the information because it could possibly ruin their company if they do not. Data breaches take place whenever this happens, and they want to be able to get their information back. Lastly, if your data is being shared, GDPR has to notify you in some way so they do not do it without your knowledge.

When it comes to Facebook, they should use the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation to help better their company. Right now, they have reports filed from all over the globe because of their lack of control with their company. The reports issued against them are constant and they seem to get worse as time goes on. If they implemented these guidelines, the people who use Facebook would be better protected from any type of compromise within the platform. Whenever you sign into the app or website, you are giving them your permission to share your information with third party websites. They never directly say that is what happens, but they cater their advertisements to what you like. If you ever are on a website on safari and are looking at shoes, chances are the shoes will pop up on an advertisement on Facebook. If you are putting your advertisements on Facebook, you must show the consumer the information you have on them if they ask to see it. They are also free to withdraw or edit any information they want when they subscribe to anything.

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The Facebook Privacy Scandal. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-facebook-privacy-scandal/
“The Facebook Privacy Scandal.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-facebook-privacy-scandal/
The Facebook Privacy Scandal. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-facebook-privacy-scandal/> [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
The Facebook Privacy Scandal [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2022 Dec 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-facebook-privacy-scandal/
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