Broken Trust: The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica Scandal, and How You Can Guard Yourself for the Future

The interconnectivity of social media has truly brought the world together in an unprecedented way. In exchange for personal information, such as age, gender, or even religious affiliation, social media users can connect with members of their own community or with users across the globe. But what happens if the social media site that you trust with your private information abuses your trust and leaves you open to scams and identity theft?


This happened in 2015, when a political consulting firm known as Cambridge Analytica collected the data of nearly 87 million Facebook users to profile voters during the contentious 2016 American presidential election. As a result, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stood trial before Congress in 2018 for the company’s mismanagement of data. During the proceedings, as summarized in this New York Times video, it was revealed that Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives knew about the data breach, but chose not to inform the public.

Since then, Zuckerberg released an official statement on Facebook regarding privacy regulations and strategies for the future, titled “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking,” but to some Facebook users, the damage was done. The data breach raised serious questions about user information protection, and what steps can be taken to keep privacy, well, private. Below, I list three strategies for maintaining privacy on Facebook.

How to Protect Yourself on Facebook:

1) Keep in mind that the “about me” field on Facebook is optional – you are not required to fill every slot. This can help keep your exact location and identity harder to track.

2) Disable tracking from third-party apps. Some apps you download on your phone allow you to sign in with your Facebook account. Be sure to double check what these apps have access to on Facebook.

3) You can manually change your Facebook privacy settings. This site has a great step-by-step guide on how you can enable secure browsing and login notifications, which can help keep your information safer.


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