Nothing you do on Facebook is private. Once again – nothing you do on Facebook is private.
More than 12 years ago, my friend Andrew raved about this thing called Facebook and how I needed to be a part of it. After all, it was a great way to meet people and organize events. In those days, I had just one problem that kept me from joining: I had already graduated post-secondary and joined the workforce, and Facebook was available only to active students and alumni. I was now aware of it and wanted something I couldn’t have.
That all changed when Facebook opened its virtual doors to the public. As of September 26, 2006, anyone over the age of 13 years with a valid email address could now be a part of this social network. It took the world by storm and by the end of 2017 had 2.2 billion active users per month. That’s almost 30% of the world’s population!
If you hadn’t noticed, Facebook has been in the news a lot lately. A whistleblower from a research company named Cambridge Analytica revealed how they gained access to a massive amount of data on the social network’s users and how they used that data for targeting specific politically-motivated content. It is believed that this could have played a large role in the outcome of the last United States Presidential election.
Since the news broke, people have discovered how to download all of the information Facebook has on them, and the results are taking the world by storm. For those who have not taken the time to review and adjust their security and privacy settings on the social network, you might see records of every phone call you made or text message you sent – even though those had nothing to do with Facebook itself. Some of the people in those records might not even have a Facebook account, yet their names and contact details have been mined and uploaded.
Are you freaked out yet? I don’t blame you, but it’s important to realize that this is something we all agreed to when we clicked “accept” on Facebook’s Terms of Service and didn’t bother to read and understand exactly what we agreed to. While it’s fair to say that Facebook should have protected your sensitive data, we are willingly giving it to them. For example, in section 2.1 in the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, you have agreed that with all intellectual property content posted to your Facebook account (like photos and videos, for example), you grant Facebook a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license” to use that content.
I encourage you to take the time to review the full terms you have agreed to at https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms/update and then review Facebook’s data policy at https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/.
Here is some additional information on understanding how you can access your data from Facebook as well.
Manager, Calgary Region