“Senator, we run ads.”

What is Facebook?

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Facebook is an American social networking service created by CEO Mark Zuckerberg  in 2004 . Based in California, Facebook is a platform used by individuals all over the world. Approximately 2+ billion. Allowing people to share images, message friends and connect with others.

For the past couple weeks, Facebook has been in deep water.

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Facebook is currently facing international investigations into the illicit harvesting of users’ personal data. Cambridge Analytica is, said company, to have gathered data from approximately 87 million users by illegitimate means, through a 3rd party application.

On March 21, Mark Zuckerberg used a post on his Facebook page to issue his first comment on the situation.

On Apri 10, Zuckerberg testified to the US Congress (both the Senate Commerce and judiciary committees).

As intense as the whole affair was. I could not help but see the bright side of things. I truly believe that Mark Zuckerberg reflected on how far the service has come. Since the time of creating it in his dorm room, to being sat in front of the daunting US Congress. As humorous as some parts were, (for example when  Mr. Schatz, US Senator started to speak about “emailing” through WhatsApp) the discussion was a serious matter.

Here are three key things I took from Facebook Vs. US Congress

 

1.GDPR ( General Data Protection Regulation) is a key issue for coming years:

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Transparency and consumer choice were key topics during the discussion with Congress. There was common ground that the consumer should be allowed to make informed decisions about what happens to their data when they decide to share it with an application.

So, why is GDPR important? GDPR is an EU regulation on data protection and privacy. The regulation primarily aims to give control back to citizens over their personal data. It is important because it even applies to organisations handling data even if they are outside of the EU. For example, the right to be forgotten. This right allows individuals to request erasure of personal data related to them. It enforces that organisations have to have a lawful basis for processing / using data. An example of this is, authorisation to process data if it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in public interest. After 4 years of preparation and debate, the GDPR finally comes into force on the 25th May 2018.

Here are a few examples of what Zuckerberg said he would do in order to prevent something like this from happening again. 

  • A full audit Cambridge Analytica and what they did with user data, to prevent improper use by app developers.
  • Investigating applications and issuing bans against applications that misuse data or are involved in suspicious activity.
  • Making sure that applications cannot access as much user information as before.

 

2.Innovation is the way forward

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Facebook exists because of innovation. The official stated purpose fo Facebook is to make the world more open and connected. It also has the latest mission statement of wanting people to use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, discover what’s going on in the world and share. I personally believe that in order to create a “better world”, as cliché as it sounds, we must instill in current students and the future generation, self-belief, motivation and provide them with platforms that allow students to collaborate and create.

 Many students shy away from taking the bold step of creating something for themselves, and I know many things come into play here. Fear of failure or lack of self-belief is a common deterrent for students wanting to succeed. I know that the rise in technology will definitely encourage more students to take the reins and feel more in control of their futures.  Technology has allowed us to connect with individuals all around the world, network with them and build meaningful relationships.The more students that take an active role in building their careers, the more innovation we will see in the world.

3. A #1 Skill: Being knowledgeable about Technology related to your chosen field.

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Whether we like it or not, we are all influenced by technology. Though it has many faults and is said cause people to have negative habits such as an addiction for “instant gratification” , technology helps us to be far more efficient and helps us to connect more with others – far more than we could, 20 years ago. Technology continues to advance. But this does not happen automatically. Individuals all over the world are working together to make some of the greatest technological advancements the world has ever seen.

With technology becoming increasingly important. It is imperative, regardless of your chosen career path that you are aware of the complex technology relevant to you. For example, artificial intelligence. In the discussion with Congress, Zuckerberg stressed the importance of artificial intelligence and its many uses, for example using it to tackle  “Fake news”.  Not everyone will want to know all there is about artificial intelligence, however being aware of the key reasons why it even exists and how it may be implemented in the future to help others around you,  is a skill that is sure to set you apart.

The path for technology is uncertain. And this makes it a very topical situation and an interesting one to watch – especially as a student. I know how important technology is and I am very motivated to develop the skills needed to create software that could help others.

I am interested to hear how others feel about the future of technology. Do you think it is hopeful, or is it more doom and gloom to you?

Leave your thoughts below!

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