Facebook’s Privacy and Data Use Policy: Ethical Debate

There is a long standing debate over the ethics of Facebook’s privacy policy and this is something that module 5 encouraged my group to explore.

For any readers who have read my previous blog, please don’t be confused with the change of tone for this update. Although I have expressed my disappointment and concerns with the course, I am not a quitter and I’m certainly not about to let my group down so I am still fully committed to all group work and assignments.

Facebook’s Privacy and Data Use Policy
Having the first live debate of the course, module five asked us to go away and build an argument around why we believed that Facebook’s Privacy and Data Use Policy is an unnecessary restriction upon its users rights. This took me back to how I felt in module three, it was thought provoking, interesting and relevant to contemporary society. We explored how the policies provide Facebook with permission to use any IP that users upload/share on Facebook and how this can restrict a user’s right to privacy within a platform that encourages people to catalog their life events. Especially when as default, this information is public (unless you are a new user); we saw this as highly intrusive, exploiting more vulnerable users.

My group also looked at the wording of the policy itself, we did not believe it to be clear and question whether people will understand the language. We believe that this may be reflective in the number of users who participated in Facebook’s European data usage vote back in 2012, only 0.038% took part. We do not believe that the policy protects the human rights and privacy of users in some of the countries that it operates, challenging laws such as the 1998 Data protection Act in UK and European data protection laws.

We questioned whether or not Facebook are capitalizing on their uninformed audience, limiting individual’s privacy freedoms. Facebook states:

“We use the information we receive about you in connection with the services and features we provide to you and other users like your friends, our partners, the advertisers that purchase ads on the site, and the developers that build the games, applications, and websites you use.”

It was a concensus within our group that ‘in connection’ is extremely vague and provides no commitment as to where or how data will be used, placing unnecessary restriction upon user’s rights. The policy inhibits information parity, giving Facebook an unfair advantage over their customers whilst allowing advertisers to reach individuals, allowing Facebook to further profit from user’s lack of knowledge.

My groups argument may not have been selected for the live ethical debate, but I take my hat of to the groups that were. Credit where credit is due. they presented strong, interesting arguments that ignited opinion in people. With my hand on my heart I can say that I really enjoyed the live debate, the arguments put forward and the insight offered from Aiden Carroll. In my opinion, it’s a shame that there wasn’t more of this type of content throughout the course.

Fantastic, thought provoking debate – well done Squares!



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