Facebook Users Have Been Giving Away Their Data For A Decade. Is It Too Late To Get Our Privacy Back?

By Ally Marotti
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl:dr) Kent Grayson, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management says even news that people’s personal data could have been used in an attempt to manipulate a presidential election likely won’t be enough for most users to change their behavior. Grayson says, “Even if it is, there’s not much they can do about the information that’s already out there.”

Chicago Tribune

Facebook users have been pouring personal data into the social media platform for more than a decade, often without realizing what they were giving up.

When third-party games or quizzes came along, users jumped on board with those too. Many of them were free, but what some users didn’t realize, or didn’t care about, was that they were paying with their personal data.

Now, concerns about sharing every aspect of life on social media are coming to a head amid reports that a political consulting firm hired by President Donald Trump’s campaign allegedly used ill-gotten Facebook data in an effort to influence voter behavior. Users are weighing whether to quit the social media platform and calling for greater online privacy protection.

But experts say those concerns won’t be enough to change the behavior of the masses. Social media have become ubiquitous, and many users are either ambivalent toward data privacy or don’t understand what they’ve given up by agreeing to the terms of service in order to create an account.

Legislation that holds tech companies accountable or offers more transparency regarding data use could help, experts say, but it has proved difficult to pass in the U.S.

People also could swear off social media, change their privacy settings or just share less. But for many users, even grave concerns about giving up privacy are trumped by the desire and need to take part in the social media world.

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