Opinion: Be Careful of What You Share on Social Media

Just when I thought the FBI was watching my every move, I found out Facebook is making a profit off of basically doing the same thing.

In the months before the 2016 presidential election, Facebook failed to protect 87 million of its users’ information from being sold to Cambridge Analytica, a company contracted by a British political firm to extract data from the social media site.

According to the Pew Research Center, 74 percent of people in the U.S. want to be in control of what information is shared about them. Sixty percent said they would not feel comfortable sharing their contact information in their emails.

With this information, Facebook should have known to give these users at least a warning that their information was being collected. However, there is no confirmation of what happens to what we share on the internet so, we as users, need to be more careful about the information we publish.

In an experiment funded by the National Bureau of Economic Research, researchers found that it did not take much for college students to change their minds about the Pew Research Center study.

More than 3,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology students had participated in a Facebook quiz that involved sharing their friends’ email addresses for free pizza. Without question, 94 percent of the students gave away their friends’ emails.

Although economic news website Market Watch suggested checking off check boxes on Facebook’s privacy settings could further help secure what is shared on the social networking website, there are plenty of ways for another person to access personal information beyond the internet.

Market Watch said using public Wi-Fi or having weak passwords on devices makes it easier for hackers to steal personal information.

In order for Facebook to earn back the trust of its users, Facebook must warn them about their information being shared or sold, or, perhaps, provide terms of agreement people can sign when they sign up for a Facebook account.

Even with unchecking boxes or doing numerous things that could make the information I post on the internet private, I realize that ensuring privacy on the internet is never guaranteed.

Technology is supposed to assist and benefit humanity, not tear us down and rule us. The amount of power Facebook has to access all of our information to profit is insulting yet fascinating.

Facebook has been used by billions of users since it was created in 2004. We will inevitably place some kind of trust in it.

Facebook was my first social media account because of how popular it was when I was a child. Having it for so long, I have noticed myself at times being flippant about the information I share on the internet, based on what has already been published on the site.

I do not think that my personal rules of sharing things on the internet will change because technology’s advancement has made it seemingly trustworthy — even when we know deep down that it could be dangerous.

Because of how much the world revolves around the internet, it has become natural for us to share information about our personal lives.

What it all truly boils down to is the decision of whether or not we are actually being smart about what we post online.

To stay secure in the information I share online, I must hold myself accountable for what I post online. I have to know that is my responsibility if that gets leaked.

So, if you know that there is information about you that you plan to never share with anyone and carry with you to the grave, what I would suggest is to not post about it on Facebook or anywhere else.

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