The Social Network forever engraved Facebook into contemporary pop culture, but its latest controversy is causing many to more deeply consider the personal information they have for a long time been giving away.
The hits to Facebook’s reputation keep coming thick and fast with Cambridge Analytica data breach being the latest issue in a long list of controversies, some of which include:
- Miscalculating video view times
- Giving fake news credibility and making it more difficult for people to determine what’s true and what isn’t
- Ongoing debate around the facebook algorithm in creating an echo chamber reinforcing our own world views
- Logging phone calls and messages through facebook messenger
The latest crisis has hit Facebook where it hurts most – its share price – and comes at a time when individuals are increasingly realising the importance of data.
While there has been much written about how organisations can benefit from the rise of big data, individuals are equally becoming aware of privacy implications and the value of the personal information they have, to date, freely shared.
The way Mark Zuckerberg handled the latest controversy was a PR lesson in how not to handle a crisis. But that is a story for another day.
The question for Facebook is how it rebuilds trust with users (who are now actually it product if you listen to some). In an age when trust in business, government, media and even more recently sport, is at an all time low, this will be no easy feat.
The #deletefacebook hashtag continues to trend, with big names such as billionare Elon Musk, actor Will Ferrell and numerous brands leading the campaign to stand up against Facebook misusing the personal information of users.
With 2 billion users Facebook its unlikely #deletefacebook will materially impact Facebook’s prominence in our day to day lives but it will be interesting to see how long it can continue to withstand controversies like this that go to the core personal principles of privacy and trust.