This has been an interesting week as we’ve watched politicians question Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, about Facebook’s apparent data breach. Not that I mind them questioning the leader of a company or holding them accountable, but to listen to the line of questioning can be cringeworthy and in some cases flat-out absurd.
It’s the same thing when we have members of the press or politicians trying to explain why particular guns (especially the AR-15) are so dangerous but the moment they start talking, you realize they have zero clues on the subject they are supposed to be educating us on. I’m not here to start in on guns, so let’s quickly move on.
There are so many things about Facebook being in the spotlight like it is right now, especially considering how much social media plays a part in our society today. Yes, there are good and bad points to it but let’s not lose sight of the most important thing here. Outrage and overreaction have become the norm and we must do our best to fight this at all costs.
Let’s think about this for a second, shall we? Washington D.C. is upset because of Facebook’s mishandling of their data–of our personal data! The outrage is ridiculous because anyone can spend five minutes on social media to find out what they need to know about you. We fill out our profiles with our contact information so that friends and family can always have a way to reach us. We gladly ‘like’ our favorite sports, entertainment, food and political figures, and then we are shocked that Facebook has data that can be breached!
Don’t get me wrong. I understand there is more sensitive information that we don’t want out there for everyone to see. However, how much privacy are we expecting when we put out our most intimate thoughts and feelings for the whole world to see and then become incredulous when we find out this information has been breached or accessed by someone you didn’t “give” permission to? I am not saying Facebook (or anyone else who has personal information) shouldn’t be held accountable for how our collected information is accessed, but I am saying let’s be level-headed in how we handle this particular situation.
When I listened as some of the politicians questioned Mr. Zuckerberg, I wondered if any of them know how to turn on a computer–let alone use one. Granted, you don’t need to know how to use a computer to take issue with being accountable for the privacy of users. It would be helpful to understand how social media and the internet works though, to understand that this information is what advertisers pay to use to get the appropriate ads and posts in front of their prospective audience.
That Facebook is a uber-liberal news machine trying to squash anything from a conservative side of things is a ridiculous thing to think as well. Do I think Mr. Zuckerberg is liberal? Yes. Does it matter? No. Not to me anyway. He has just as much right to be liberal as I do to be a conservative. If Facebook squashes your conservative message, change vehicles. Find another way to get it out there rather than whine and cry about how unfair Facebook is to conservatives. No matter who you are; if you are getting your “news” from social media, you may want to reevaluate your choices anyway.
Look, we all have opinions and we are all so different and unique. That’s what makes mankind amazing and horrific at the same time! Social media isn’t the enemy here. Nor is having your information mined by an arbitrary company with which you have no association. The enemy here is outrage without thinking first; overreaction without all the information.
So, before you go out and delete your Facebook profile and paint the innovator of social media as we know it as Satan himself, do some research. Find out what information they have on you. You might be surprised how little “vital” information they have. If, after your research you discover there is information you don’t want “out there”, go through and purge as much as you can. You can’t be mad at companies for wanting access to the information we willingly put out there! So, when possible, let’s try to do a better job of keeping things in context because we can’t fix things by continually screaming, “BURN THE WITCH!” at everyone who messes up or doesn’t live up to our expectations. Again, Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg should be held accountable for the data breach and safeguards need to be put in place to prevent this from happening. Let’s just hope Facebook and anyone else who holds vast amounts of personal data, learns from this situation.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this! What are your thoughts about Facebook being on trial?