By paige crawford
The world recently found that Facebook was taking its users personal information and making it accessible to other businesses in order to make ads suited for each person. The biggest scandal throughout these findings is that user information being sold to Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political data firm that worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The release of these findings has showed the true risk of the companies we let see our personal lives and information.
The personal data of close to 87 million Facebook users was improperly shared with the analytics firm to increase the votes given to Trump to win the election. After Trump was elected, many started to be weary of the fake news articles advertised on facebook and worried that they might have swayed the election. It is no secret that many sites and apps sell other companies access to users data in order to show a user specific ads it thinks they are likely to enjoy or click on. There is no harm done to either party in this way, where companies sell more products and services and users see ads that actually interest them. This type of data sharing can go wrong when it becomes a way for campaigners to twist the minds of electors in order to win their party. With this, it gives many voters even more reason to believe that Trump's win on the 2016 election was not accurate and should not have been valid.
The personal data these companies take is not just invading users privacy, but using it to manipulate their minds. While it has been widely known that social media sites use users data to make customized ads, these Facebook allegations show that this company, and probably many others, are taking it too far. Personal data of any user should never be shown to third parties that have shown to have intentions other than promoting a service or product. Cambridge Analytica uses psychology to target and persuade users in order to have them vote for Trump in the 2016 election. These unfair ways of advertising a presidency could have easily changed the opinion of the voters. With this in mind, political campaigns should not be able to gain advertising space if those advertisements can persuade users unethically.
Facebook is under a lot of criticism and hatred ever since this scandal was brought to the public's attention, but advertising like this is still occuring. Continuing to find companies taking advantage of users will start to help make advertisements safer for users.