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Facebook 'doesn't know the best way forward' on privacy issues

It was announced late last week that Canada's privacy commissioner is taking Facebook to court over leaked personal information
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It was announced late last week that Canada's privacy commissioner is taking Facebook to court over leaked personal information.

The report released by Daniel Therrien says Mark Zuckerberg's social networking site didn't get consent from users before giving their data to private companies.

But Anita Kirkbride, a social media consultant with Twirp Communications in Halifax, says Facebook is in uncharted waters.

"They're the first ones to make anything like Facebook, and they don't have anybody to follow. They don't have a roadmap," Kirkbride tells NEWS 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show.

This means Facebook is being reactive, not proactive.

"I can't help but think that Facebook doesn't know the best way forward, they're kind of figuring it out as they go," she says.

The announcement is Canada's version the the American Cambridge Analytica scandal, and involves similar data breaches, where third-party apps collect information to sell it.

"It wasn't really Facebook sold the data, which is something that a lot of people don't realize," Kirkbride adds.

She says users can take steps to protect themselves from sharing personal info with these apps, but most people don't realize it until it's too late.

"They don't really think about the fact that telling this app their mother's maiden name, and doing a facial scan, and talking about their birthday could open them up to data that can be used against them in some way," Kirkbride says.

There are also settings on Facebook that users can change to make their profiles more private.

"People should be going in on a regular basis and checking those features to make sure they're set where they want them to be," Kirkbride says. "Everybody should have their friends list set to either private or friends only, so any old stranger that comes along your profile can't see who your friends list is."

Kirkbride says that the company is doing what they can to respond to user concerns.

"I don't think they're going to be the king forever, but I think for the foreseeable future Facebook is here to stay," she says. "They are hearing the concerns, they are making changes."

In the meantime, things like having a strong, unique password and even using an incognito browser can help protect your information.

"I think people are starting to realize they need to pay close attention to what they're giving Facebook, and what permissions they're letting all of the social networks have," she says.




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Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

After graduating from journalism at King's, Victoria Walton now works in the film industry and as HalifaxToday.ca's weekend editor.
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