With the rise of technology and the emerging internet of things, an escalating concern for privacy has emerged. The complexity of the challenges companies face to respect the human right to privacy is growing substantially. They are also impacting all industries—there is not a single company that is unaffected by the privacy challenge. One of the most often cited companies at the intersection of innovation and privacy concerns is Facebook.
Facebook’s recent crisis is just one of many privacy issues that the company has had to deal with in its relatively short existence. Since Facebook’s launch in 2004, the company has dealt with a string of legal disputes arising from privacy concerns.
Facebook was only two years old when it introduced News Feed on Sept. 5, 2006. The feed was intended as a central destination so users didn’t have to browse through friends’ profiles to see changes.
Facebook had approximately 8 million users at the time, and not all of them were thrilled about every move of their personal life being projected into a daily feed for their friends.
An estimated 1 million users joined “Facebook News Feed protest groups,” arguing the feature was too intrusive. But Facebook stayed the course.
The outrage died down, and News Feed became a big part of Facebook’s success.
Facebook’s mood-manipulation experiment in 2014 included more than 500,000 randomly selected users. Facebook altered their news feeds to show more negative or positive posts. The purpose of the study was to show how emotions could spread on social media. The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which resulted in a backlash.
Adam D.I. Kramer, the Facebook data scientist who led the experiment, ultimately apologized on Facebook. Four years later, the experiment no longer appears to be online.
People finally got the answer to the question “Where’s Zuck?” In a statement posted on his Facebook wall, Zuckerberg expressed partial blame for Facebook’s role in not doing enough to protect user privacy.
He outlined three steps Facebook will take, including investigating apps that were able to access user data prior to 2014, when the company began changing its permissions for developers. Facebook will place restraints on the data apps can access, limiting them to a person’s photo, name and email. Finally, Zuckerberg said Facebook will create a tool that allows people to see which apps have access to their data and allow them to revoke access.
“I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he wrote. “The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago. But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.
A Pattern Emerges
Unfortunately, these are just a few of many privacy breaches that Facebook has had to address over the years. As our personal lives become more integrated with technology, it seems unlikely that the privacy challenge will ever be fully resolved by Facebook or other companies. But, there are ways we can take responsibility for our own privacy and take steps to protect it.
Privacy in Trust
A Living Trust (Trust) is a primary estate-planning document that is used in place of a Last Will and Testament (“Will”).
- Trusts are used to by-pass probate. This means that upon your death, all assets in the Trust pass to the beneficiaries through the Trust, and not through any court process.
- Trusts can provide your beneficiaries with asset protection.
- Trusts are fully revocable: the creator can change any terms or completely revoke (cancel) the Trust.
- Trusts are private documents that unlike Wills do not become a part of the public record.