Professor says data privacy has been an issue online for years


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is under fire, accused of not doing enough to protect people's privacy on the social media site.

He faced lawmakers during a several-hour long hearing in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to discuss the social media giant’s mishandling of millions of users’ personal data.

As Facebook works to fix its damaged image, many users are seeing this as a wakeup call to more fiercely protect their privacy.

“I use Facebook probably every day,” said Emma Kertanis, who is a student at the University of Connecticut.

The social media giant is so popular many people can’t go 24 hours without scrolling through their news feed.

Now with word that the data of up to 87 million users was improperly accessed by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, some are taking a step back from the platform.

Does the Facebook scandal make you want to stop using the social media site? Vote in our poll here.

“It’s a little bit concerning knowing that all of my information is out there for people to just get however they want to get it,” Kertanis said.

“It’s a bit scary because they can just get into your data because you allow them on your phone and they can just take that and sell it off,” said Petar Efremov, a UConn student.

UConn Professor Ram Gopal, a department head with Operations and Information Management in the School of Business, said Facebook just got caught now, but this has been going on for years.

“When you go to a website and use the services there essentially the data that you provide them, your interactions with them are not your property. It belongs to the companies,” Gopal said.

He says it can be especially dangerous when Facebook sells your information to third parties because you don’t know what they’re doing with the data.

While he recommends people exercise caution on the internet, he says there is a real need for better policies and regulations imposed by our elected leaders.

“What I can say is be afraid be very afraid in terms of what you do on especially on social media,” Gopal said.

A new poll by CBS News and YouGov finds 51 percent of Americans consider Fakebook’s response “unacceptable” and 63 percent of Facebook users believe their data is unsafe.

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