Is It Time To Delete Your Facebook Account Because Of Facebook's New Nightmare?

With explosive whistleblower charges and ongoing regulatory issues, Facebook has recently come under criticism. But, for Facebook's 3 billion users, things may have just gotten worse—could this be the tipping moment that ultimately motivates individuals to deactivate their accounts?

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If you care about your data, it might be. According to a new report in Vice’s Motherboard, Facebook has no idea what it does with your data, or where it goes. That’s despite the fact that Facebook is one of the most data-hungry platforms in the world.

Motherboard published the leaked document written by Facebook privacy engineers in the social network’s Ad and Business Product Team, in full.

“We’ve built systems with open borders. The result of these open systems and open culture is well described with an analogy: Imagine you hold a bottle of ink in your hand. This bottle of ink is a mixture of all kinds of user data (3PD, 1PD, SCD, Europe, etc.)

“You pour that ink into a lake of water (our open data systems; our open culture) … and it flows … everywhere. How do you put that ink back in the bottle? How do you organize it again, such that it only flows to the allowed places in the lake?”

According to Motherboard, 3PD stands for third-party data, 1PD stands for first-party data, and SCD stands for sensitive categories data.

"We can't credibly make controlled policy changes or external pledges such as 'we will not utilize X data for Y purpose,'" the memo says. And yet, this is precisely what regulators want of us."

The Issue with the Facebook Document Leak

So, what's the issue here? Data must be acquired for a specified reason, according to privacy regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is regarded as the "gold standard" for people's data protection rights. In other words, it cannot be collected for one use and then utilized for another.

According to the most recent Facebook paper, the social network will have a difficult time complying with this because it looks to lack authority over the data in the first place.

"Not knowing where all the data is is a basic problem in any organization, but when that data includes personal user information, it generates major privacy difficulties and should be addressed promptly," says Jake Moore, global cybersecurity advisor at ESET.

A representative for Facebook's parent company, Meta, disputes that the social network is subject to regulation. "Because this paper does not detail our elaborate processes and controls to comply with privacy requirements, concluding that it indicates noncompliance is just incorrect."

"As new privacy legislation emerge throughout the world, fresh requirements emerge, and this paper represents the technology solutions we're developing to scale the current safeguards we have in place to manage data and satisfy our duties."

Is it time to uninstall Facebook?

Facebook's user numbers fell for the first time this year, though they have since rebounded marginally, as the company's data-hungry habits became more apparent to everybody.

At the same time, Apple's App Tracking Transparency features, which allow individuals to reject ad tracking on their iPhone, have taken a heavy toll on Facebook. These features, however, do not prohibit Facebook from collecting first-party data—the information you supply to it on its website.

If you want to remove Facebook, I've produced an article that will walk you through the process. If you aren't quite ready, consider removing the app from your phone and instead accessing it through your computer's browser to minimize the amount of data Facebook may gather.

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