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1.5 Billion Facebook Users' Information Sold On Dark Web In Latest Data Breach
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Via News. Views. Hughes: Attorney Madeline Pendley joins Natasha Sweatte to discuss the new scrutiny on social media giant Facebook’s abuse of users’ privacy following a document dump by an employee-turned-whistleblower. She also speaks to the growing awareness of social media’s toxic impact on the self esteem of young women and Facebook’s financial interest tin stoking polarization and controversy.
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*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Tech giant Facebook has been making headlines recently, but now there’s even more to report. More than 1.5 billion Facebook users are reportedly having their information sold from the social media platform. This means their private information is now possibly visible to cyber criminals. And while there have been privacy breaches in the past, this is the biggest one yet. For more, we turn to Madeline Pendley attorney with the firm Levin Papantonio Rafferty, Madeline, thanks so much for joining us today.
Thanks for having me.
Now, there are several things I would like to cover with you, but first, what do you make of this Facebook data dump? Has it surprised you since, you know, maybe users thought after prior breaches, their information might have been more secure?
Okay. So yes and no. It is surprising on the one hand because you would think just like you mentioned earlier that after this massive data breach earlier this year where 500 million people had their privacy compromised, that maybe Facebook would take some action to ensure that this didn’t happen again. However, that seems to be too good to be true. So of course we’re in the same situation again, this time it’s to an additional 1.5 billion people. And based on the data that we have from this second hack, it seems that there wasn’t any overlap in the two breaches, which means we’re looking at almost 2 billion people independently who’ve had their data essentially stolen from them on Facebook in just the last year.
Wow. And now we saw a whistleblower come out, a former Facebook employee who claims the company is misleading the public on progress. You know, she went on to say that getting exposed to more anger causes more interaction among users. So what do you make of these claims?
I actually find that to be credible. I think it lends itself to common sense, content that elicits emotion gets more interaction than something that’s passive and mundane. But the problem with Facebook is that Facebook is intentionally providing users with this type of inflammatory information through its algorithm in order to make money. So basically Facebook’s programming decides what you see and what you don’t on your Facebook page. And their, their own research shows that content that is divisive or polarizing promotes more engagement than other forms of content. And if Facebook were to change this algorithm to take this stuff away or hide it from that main newsfeed, people would end up spending less time on the page, engage with fewer ads and Facebook will ultimately lose money. But the problem is this algorithm tends to show inflammatory information that has very dangerous implications.
Yeah. And now last week we reported that Facebook’s own research has showed it actually damaged female teams body image and self-esteem, but since then a Facebook executive has refuted those reports in front of Congress. Take a listen.
I understand that recent reporting has raised a lot of questions about our internal research, including research we do to better understand young people’s experiences on Instagram. We strongly disagree with how this reporting characterized our work.
So Madeline, do you really think after the evidence surfaced that Congress would really believe the opposite, that Instagram actually helped teens in their coping mechanisms with depression, anxiety and body image health?
I would hope not.
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