Questions surrounding the privacy of personal information and user data are not new. They have been a concern for years and, with the growing usage of social media, these questions are only growing more pervasive. People are now constantly seeking new ways to keep their information private and companies try to feed this illusion with statements of their supposed commitment to maintaining the user’s privacy, which is of questionable sincerity.
One of the latest attempts by a corporation to address privacy concerns comes in the form of a statement released by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, in early March. Facebook is struggling to win back favor with the public and its users after a series of unsavory events staining the company’s reputation. From fake news scandals to accusations of permitting hate speech to revelations about privacy or the lack thereof, many have lost faith in the social media platform.
Zuckerberg’s statement involved several principles ranging from allowing private interactions with end-to-end encryption to secure storage of data. The promises are difficult to take at face value, considering the fact that Facebook and many other social media platforms have failed to maintain control of user information up to this point.
It is not hard to imagine that social media companies like Facebook may use their resources just to get better at disguising their vulnerabilities or reckless behavior in leaking data, especially if passing along user information to advertisers and companies means more profit.
The truth is that, in this day and age, privacy is an illusion. It is extremely hard to maintain anonymity and/or keep control of information flow about you on the internet. In a world of screenshots, countless social media platforms, data mining, bots, synced devices and more, privacy becomes more and more elusive every hour.
In an ideal world, social media and visibility on the internet would mean that users were accessible only to the people whom they wish to share their information with. However, this is not an ideal world. Safety is not guaranteed, and some of the time users may think that they are safe but in reality the other shoe just has not yet dropped.
In order to get the best guarantee that your information is private in this digital age, you have to avoid using social media altogether. You have to make an active choice not to participate and in doing so, you risk missing out on information that you want or need to know about others, or information you want or need people to know about you.
Social media and internet communication aren’t just about communicating with old friends now. People use social media to help them with job prospects or for advertising. But these advantages come at a cost. People have a choice to make about what they value more, the security of their information or their access to opportunities and services, because unfortunately right now, having both does not seem to be an entirely viable option.