This article is about Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, agreeing to testify in a congressional hearing regarding the recent Facebook data breach which resulted in the personal data of millions of Facebook users to fall into the hands of political advisory firms who used the data to manipulate the political opinions of Facebook users. The shocking realizations have forced many in our nation to confront two terrifying realities, the first being that Facebook can harvest enough data from us to develop a profile of you that understands your political ideology even better than ourselves and the second being that political advisory companies are leveraging this wealth of personal data to change our opinions and manipulate our electorate. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify in front of congress is a signal of the increasing pressure placed on the companies which define our digital lives to become more responsible guardians of our data.
Mark Zuckerberg now faces an uphill battle to convince consumers that their data is safe with Facebook and will not be used to manipulate or deceive them. While it is encouraging that so many individuals are outraged of this blatant abuse of the public’s trust in Facebook, it is still to be seen if this present disgust will linger or be forgotten. Due to the monumental role that social networks, and particularly Facebook, play in our lives it is too easy to lose sight of the dangers of the medium. Hopefully these recent revelations will create a digital climate which is more aware of these digital mediums’ potential for subversion.