Facebook on Friday announced the discovery and reparation of a security breach that exposed personal information belonging to 50 million accounts — the largest hack in the company’s history.
The unidentified hackers were able to gain access to the accounts through (ironically) two tools meant to improve user privacy, and one intended to make uploading birthday videos easier, according to The New York Times.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted in a statement that the causes of breaches such as these are often hard to pinpoint or prevent.
How much of a relief is this? Well, maybe not much.
For many people, the amount of personal information on their Facebook accounts is minimal and more inconvenient than life-threatening if leaked. However, many apps — including Spotify, Instagram and Gmail — allow you to use Facebook while logging into their accounts, or vice versa.
You may not keep much information on your Facebook page, but I’m certain that you do not want hackers to have access to your emails.
Facebook has pledged to increase its security team from 10,000 to 20,000 people, despite the fact that the company has been operating since August without a chief security officer.
Meanwhile, Facebook has done little to quell worries over “fake news” that have cropped up on users’ timelines. Earlier this year, Cambridge Analytics, a British analytics firm, got access to the private information of up to 87 million accounts, according to The Times.
Senior Facebook executives have suggested that the government will need to get involved if the company cannot get a better grasp on the privacy breaches, The Times reported. Since the breach was announced, the company’s shares have dropped about two and a half percent, according to Market Watch.
Facebook, for many of us, has been a large part of our lives for more than a decade. Before Twitter or Instagram, there was Facebook — the go-to site to vent teenage angst or post pictures that you probably now find embarrassing.
Though Facebook’s popularity has since fallen off with younger generations, the network bridges an intergenerational gap that makes it stand out amongst other platforms.
It is the only social media site where you can evenly find accounts belonging to people of all ages.
For older generations, Facebook is the perfect way to keep up with loved ones they do not see often.
News of Facebook’s privacy issues surely concerns almost every user, but it is questionable whether anyone will actually stop using their accounts over this.
In today’s world we are laser-focused on everything that is happening through our screens, so much so, that the thought of giving that up, even on insecure sites, seems incredibly difficult. Deactivating our Facebook accounts also means losing the connection that we have with friends and family around the world.
It is ironic to think that we are so hesitant to give out personal information for fear of being compromised, but we use a site every day that has allowed millions of accounts to be intercepted.
Do not mistake the fact that Facebook is a great tool that helps people stay connected. However, if company leaders cannot give us privacy then it is time to consider staying connected through other means.