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Elon Musk Just Deleted His Facebook Page. Should You? (No, but not for the reasons you think)

March 23, 2018

It’s all over the news today, Elon Musk, the visionary that will someday possibly lead us to Mars, if only to retrieve his Tesla, just deleted his Facebook page. And he also deleted the pages for SpaceX and Tesla. Apparently he did it in response to a request around the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

If you aren’t familiar with Cambridge Analytica, it is a company that helps its clients use data, mostly from social media. Really? It’s a Republican leaning research company that wants to influence social media in favor of Conservatives.

What they did “wrong” was that they gathered a bunch of data about you and 50 million of your closest Facebook friends. They did it by posting a “survey” during the presidential campaign. If you took the survey, it asked if you wanted to share the results with Facebook. If you said yes, it posted to your wall and then took a look at who your friends were.

We don’t know the extend of what C.A. did with the data. But, many people are feeling betrayed. It’s like Facebook expected you to read the User Agreement and understand that “all your base are belong to us.” Seriously, anytime you click the “Yes” button to post results to Facebook, it’s going to expose you to this type of “hacking.”

Evil Republicans?

Not really. Before anyone turns this into more of a partisan attack than it is now, realize that Obama’s team used a very similar technique in 2012. In fact, Facebook figured out what they were doing (harvesting data about friends, likes, pages, etc) but, they were cool with it because they agreed with the effort to reelect President Obama.

Even though both sides are doing it, is it bad?

That’s a tough question for me to answer. I watched the internet revolution happen. I was at Microsoft for much of the 1990’s and early 2000’s. I’ve been involved with IT security in some way or other for decades.

Here’s my personal take on this: ALL DATA IS COMPROMISED

Period.

I live my online life assuming that everything is visible. Security is like placing a screen to divert water in a creek. If I use a screen with small openings, I can divert a good portion of the water away from my portion of the creek bank. Can I divert all of the water (attacks?) Nope. Any system online is vulernable. You can get better screens, and that’s critical. But, don’t assume that it’s perfect.

Ever since the Patriot Act passed over a decade ago, the US Government has had pretty much unfettered access to your online life. What keeps the majority of people safe is “the herd.” In other words, as an individual , you aren’t very interesting to the government.

You are interesting to hackers and if you click links in email from unknown senders, you’re going to have your identify hacked. So, definitely we need to protect ourselves, but we are not going to be safe.

So, let’s talk about Facebook. The data from your Facebook account, the personal information like name/password/etc. is worth about $5 on the Dark Web. That’s not a lot. Because honestly, Facebook doesn’t have much personal data about you. Your bank information is much more valuable to a hacker, of course. It’s why your bank has more robust security than Facebook.

Should you #deleteFacebook because of this latest “hack”?

No. If Facebook has value for you, keep using it. Many of you are reading this post via Facebook. How do I know? Because, WordPress (my blogging platform) and Facebook share large amounts of data about people using the two platforms. Your data is already out there.

Now, if Facebook provides you no value, then sure, delete it. That’s why Musk deleted his pages. He admitted he doesn’t personally use Facebook and his companies don’t advertise on Facebook. And he thought the pages looked “lame.”

We like to think we are safe online. We aren’t. Your company knows what sites you went to. Your ISP knows what sites you visited. The sites you visit know what other sites you visit. Much of your digital life is already online.

Keep yourself safe, but unless you are going to move to a cabin in the woods with a wood stove and no electricity, you are not going to prevent your personal information seeping through that screen.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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