Sunday, 20 Oct 2019 | 21 Safar 1441
Facebook scandal: Many users delete accounts, say difficult to trust anymore

Facebook scandal: Many customers delete accounts, say challenging to trust any longer

The scandal has left several customers feeling threatened on their respective information securities. In Oman as well, several citizens and expatriates have began deleting their accounts.

Salim Khan, an expatriate operating with an insurance coverage organization in Al Khuwayr mentioned, “I used to post general pictures and inspirational videos but rarely posted personal events. Though I have not uploaded any personal information, I deleted my account a few days ago after the incident. I feel cheated and manipulated. This is not fair and my information is being used for commercial purpose without my knowledge. This is unacceptable.”

IT professional Riyadh al Balushi explained how the entire scandal might have undermined the democratic procedure but it is not a case of information breach.

“I think it is important to remember that the Facebook scandal did not involve a data breach or the ‘stealing’ of any data. What happened is that a Facebook app was authorised by its users to access their data, but then the app developer used the data of these individuals and of their friends for purposes other than what the original users consented to. The incident is a scandal, not only because the personal data of millions of users was used without permission, but because the data was later used to create personalised marketing campaigns capable of influencing political opinions of members of the public. This is controversial from an ethical point of view as it may undermine democratic processes all over the world.”

The uneasiness most customers really feel is more than the reality that if an election can be manipulated, then it can be completed so with other information as nicely. Bader al Harthy, a freelance photographer and a government employee mentioned, “I have deleted my account because FB cannot be trusted. When an election can be manipulated, I am sure it is no big deal to manipulate data of small business houses. I have deleted mine as well as my daughter’s accounts as teenagers are more prone to threats.”

Balushi nevertheless opines that quitting Facebook is a privilege that only some individuals have. “To many people, Facebook is the only way they stay in touch with their family members, the primary platform for making a living, and the only outlet to freely express themselves while living in an oppressive regime.”

However, there are several who have opted not to delete the accounts. Amin Choudhary, a businessman from Ruwi mentioned, “I have not deleted my account because I do not have much personal information online. Personal information gets stolen when we click on adverts and games on FB. If one needs to buy or play, I recommend strictly doing it through Playstore or App Store.”

According to businessman Emdad Bachchu information leaks are bound to take place in the globe of Internet. “One cannot stop data leak over the Internet. But it was unprofessional on FB’s part to share people’s personal data with external sources.”

But 1 wants to safeguard private details by becoming cautious although conducting transactions on-line, feels Bachchu. “I do not provide my address, phone number or contact details on any website. I also warn people against sharing their real time locations on social networking sites as these attract cybercriminals. People want to blow their trumpet but are not aware that they may land in problems due to this.”

IT professional Balushi mentioned that Facebook is the Internet, and quitting it is not an choice for several customers and so it is the duty of governments to safeguard customers. “Facebook must be held accountable by governments and its shareholders for its failure to protect its users. Users should also reconsider the social networks they choose to be part of and the information they share on them.”

Information Source: Muscat Daily

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