Privacy concerns for Facebook, the social networking megalith, have been raised once again. Reports indicate that the email contacts of 1.5M users have been uploaded to the site without their permission or knowledge.
The glitch occurred at the new account page where users were required to enter their email password. This allowed for access to the full contact list of users. Facebook has promised to delete the email contact information and inform affected users.
“We’ve fixed the underlying issue and are notifying people whose contacts were imported. People can also review and manage contacts they share with Facebook in their settings.”
This news only adds to the already sordid privacy record of the tech giant’s past. Political manipulation and security breaches affecting more than 30 million users have already led to plummeting user confidence.
The problems bring attention to the concerning perspective of major tech corporations regarding their users. With user data being the source of massive income and profits, users become highly commoditized. This brings increasing temptation for companies to use private data for corporate growth—something disturbing for most users.
Because Facebook is highly centralized, its user base has little or no say regarding such policies. In fact, as with the current admission, most of these data breaches occur without users’ awareness or permission.
Facebook has promised to delete the data, but the answer to the problem may be more systemic. The only thing that will truly change the trajectory of such companies is a shift away from corporate control and profiteering toward increased user control.
Blockchain technology is already being used for data control and privacy. Offering users peer-to-peer control of social connections would reduce corporate profit, but would also increase privacy. Furthermore, in a blockchain-based model, data is no longer held by the centralized corporation, making data protection a community effort.
While Facebook has already considered utilizing blockchains and a native digital currency, the issue that must be solved is corporate governance. Until a more decentralized approach is taken, such breaches will likely continue.
Do you think Facebook’s privacy issues reveal a need to move toward decentralization, or will simple solutions like deleting data fix the problems? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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