It’s nearly impossible to use the Internet this week and ignore the eruptive headlines on Facebook’s data leak to Cambridge Analytica, which worked in conjunction with the Trump campaign. CNN reported an all-you-need-to-know article about Aleksandr Kogan and his involvement with the scandal, which I found necessary after reading rather contradictory interviews between him and Mark Zuckerberg. Kogan claims he’s a scapegoat, and that many data scientists were involved in similar activity, but Zuckerberg seems intent on dissociating himself and Facebook from Kogan. The presentation of Kogan as a scapegoat is both fair and not, as he quite literally sold off 30 million people’s’ information without permission to do so, yet, I’m sure he’s accurate in the assumption that many apps and scientists are doing something very similar, just not getting caught. Zuckerberg also told the Times that Facebook will be reviewing “thousands” of apps to see where data breaches occurred, and informing everyone who even possibly could have been affected. He also admits that when he was initially informed of Kogan selling information to the group in 2015, he didn’t demand legal proof of them deleting the data. And wished he had.
I had never given much thought to how violated I could feel by an app collecting data on me. The way I’ve always looked at it is, if I get to use your platforms for free and you collect my information to sell me better lipstick suited to me or suggested left-leaning politics in return, so be it. I’ll try to expand my horizons and stay aware of this targeting. This situation, however, has peeled back this film of indifference, and I feel a bit more aware of how much of my information exists on the web, whether privatized or not, and how easily someone unconcerned with my own privacy could take and exploit that information. Facebook will be answering for this for months to come, is my prediction, especially because it seems the warning wasn’t taken seriously. I can only hope that we have larger rights to privacy and more legal action is taken against those who infringe on this.