The Facebook Free-for-All

June 2, 2010
By JNG95 SILVER, Roslyn Heights, New York
JNG95 SILVER, Roslyn Heights, New York
8 articles 0 photos 0 comments

A famous line from the 1968 film Cabaret states, “money makes the world go around.” American society is based upon the obtaining and transferring of money from one person to the next, and this sometimes includes invading the privacy of their customers, especially when it comes to online websites such as Facebook. The real question is—if at all, how much is too much?

Americans are always concerned with the protection of their Constitutional and unalienable rights. The government is supposed to protect its citizens in whatever way possible, and although not directly mentioned in the US Constitution, that includes preventing their private information from being exposed. Facebook has just been proven to be releasing some of their consumers’ private information to advertisers in order to profit. Americans have contradicting opinions pertaining to whether these actions were justified or not, but the majority of citizens believe Facebook to be wrong.

Nikki S., a freshman in high school, has not only her own account on Facebook, but seems to share the popular opinion of not feeling very safe while she is on the website. Not only that, but Nikki is in complete disagreement with the website’s actions pertaining to making a profit in whatever way possible. She said, “although [Facebook] want[s] to of course make a profit, they should not be unjust about the way that they go about making money, and it should not affect the people that trust them.” Additionally, Carmel R, another 9th grader, is in agreement with Nikki, and she claims that, “letting advertisers target one by using the consumer’s private information isn’t right.”

The majority of students interviewed were disgusted, or at least disappointed, with how Facebook was handling the information that its users had entrusted it with. Even though some believe that one is taking a risk when posting information online, Carmel, who also has an account on Facebook, stated that, “I do believe that making a Facebook account is putting yourself online, however, it is at your own risk…[and it] was created to help friends stay in touch with one another, but not for the profit of Facebook itself, so they have no right to be revealing the private information of consumers.” Carmel’s opinion seems to correspond with the majority of people interviewed, and Sowre commented, “a Facebook user is revealing themselves to the world, and they are trusting Facebook to hold their information and keep it safe.”

Facebook has apologized for their actions, but an apology is not enough to win over the majority of those who had been against the company. The public is in favor of punishing Facebook with a fine, like the well-known radical student Della F., feel that Facebook should be, “legally punished and compensate their users with a specific amount of money.” The other side of the argument is that those who signed up for Facebook should have known that the corporation would use their information to their advantage, and as a result, it is controversial whether or not the actions of Facebook were justified.

The author's comments:
Facebook has been releasing private information about their users to advertising companies in order to make a profit. It's a "free-for-all" because the private information is available to the advertisers that facebook supports, although many users do not approve of these actions. Some do...but the quesiton is--was Facebook justified in releasing the information?

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