The Facebook and Cambridge Analytica fallout has sent Facebook's stock on a slide this week. Have you been a casual observer or are you one of the 2 Billion Facebook users that is trying to absorb the real security and privacy issues this scandal represents?
Analytica tried to influence American voters with the personal information that it obtained improperly from 50 million Facebook users.
Facebook has often turned its back on responsibility and potentially ethics when it comes to our personal data. On the one hand claiming ignorance, pretending that it is just a medium and that they know little about us and at other times "knowing all" when it comes to enticing ad dollars to be spent on its platform.
Is Your Social Footprint Really Private?
Somewhere in the back of my mind (I would imagine all of our minds) we know that all of that social data is not all that private.
Every time we indulge our vanity or want a laugh by taking a personality, IQ quiz or when clicking on an app to discover what we would look like as a movie star, we are opening the door to corporate surveillance and use of our personal information.
Unfortunately, as with Cambridge Analytica, that information is not always used for good. They used your personal social profile for their own gain by influencing what you see.
Yes I can hear many of you screaming now. A good number of people believe only the weak minded are influenced by the suggestions, false headlines or posts you get exposed to on social media.
While I would like to think that I'm of the strongest constitution to resist such influences, psychological and neurological studies suggest otherwise.
There are a vast amount of studies and research to show that deliberate suggestion can influence how we buy and how we think about things. Marketing and advertising count on it as we use the study of human psychology to influence buying decisions daily.
So whether you believe that the Russians use of Facebook or Analytica's desire to influence your political opinion would work on you or not, we are no doubt entering into a new digital frontier.
As artificial intelligence, data analytics and other tools advance, so does a corporation's ability to use our digital footprint for gain. Unfortunately, not every corporation holds ethics and accountability in high regard. At this point, it is looking that Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook may be one of them.
In the wake of this fallout it would be good for all of us to rethink our social use strategy. Perhaps being more mindful of what you post, what you share, what you like, and how you use social will limit your exposure.
Download Your Facebook Data
In fact if you want to see how much information Facebook has of yours, you can download it. I did and all I can say is WOW! The download function is under Settings, General and you will see "Download a copy of your Facebook data."
Decrease Your Social Footprint
In the coming days we will see more people become mindful of their social footprint and maybe even take a few steps to limit it. If human nature is what it is, then limiting how we post or share should be relatively short lived for most.
As a business, we all have to ask are we going to be driven by ethics and accountability or will we exploit the digital footprint of our customers and followers? Not surprisingly, we will probably all see many more regulations to help make those decisions easier.
I believe ethics, character and accountability can be its own competitive advantage and will not be surprised to see more consumers demand it.