The Facebook scandal: what you need to know

Facebook has been caught up in a major scandal over the Cambridge Analytica issue. But what really happened, and what does it mean to you?

Before we go into this scandal, let’s understand how Facebook makes money as a business. I mean, Facebook is a BIG business, worth around $500 billion, yet it’s completely free to use.  So how do they actually make money?

Facebook makes money through targeted advertising. This means that advertisers pay Facebook to advertise to people who are more likely to buy their products. This is great for advertisers because they save huge amounts of money by targeting a small group of people.

I’ll explain this with an example. Let’s say you sell baby clothes. Who will be the best people to advertise to? Kids? Teenagers? Middle-aged businessmen? No! The people most likely to buy baby clothes are mums who are expecting, or who have recently given birth. So it makes sense that you should target them in your advertising.

Facebook will allow you to target specific people. So, if you want to target expecting mums, they’ll do it.

But how do they know if a woman is expecting? Easy: because she tells them! When she posts on Facebook or Instagram talking about her pregnancy to her friends and family, Facebook is listening. And remembering. So when an advertiser is looking for pregnant mums, bingo.

In the same way, Facebook keeps track of all our personal information: interests, hobbies, beliefs, political inclinations, you name it. It’s correct to say that Facebook might know you better than your friends.

So Facebook is on the business of selling user data. Why then, the big hoohah with the Cambridge Analytica case? What makes it really bad is that:

  • Cambridge didn’t just advertise on Facebook. They actually took people’s data away without their permission. Some allege that Facebook knew about this all along, but did nothing about it.
  • According to some sources 50 million users were affected, while some say more.

When the news broke, there was an immediate frenzy that followed with media outlets asking people to #DeleteFacebook. Many people are doing just that, with some big names like Elon Musk joining the ranks.

Should you #DeleteFacebook?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s entirely up to you what you do, but knowing what I’ve described above should help you make a decision.

If you feel comfortable with Facebook knowing and sharing your personal data, then stay. Just some advice:

  1. Keep your personal life personal, and be careful of what you share.
  2. Posts and pics that are of an extremely personal nature, should stay out.
  3. Pics of your little kids? Definitely not. You never know who’s watching.

Of course, if all this just creeps you out, then #DeleteFacebook.

So, what are you going to do? Please leave a comment below 🙂

3 Replies to “The Facebook scandal: what you need to know”

  1. I honestly think people are so gullible to post their entire life of Facebook just for likes and comments. Keep that info for yourself and your family only.

    Great read @Bilalkats very informative

  2. Very informative. I’m keeping FB though. As much as FB uses us, it’s good for keeping in touch with family and friends, especially those who live far away. I’d keep the very private things private though (obvs). And when you really think about it, who/what in this world DOESN’T use us to their benefit? We just need to pick which is worthy enough.

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