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Facebook privacy breach: GRCC students react

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By Karl Blessing – The Collegiate Staff

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, appeared before a congressional hearing to respond to the mishandling of personal data belonging to 87 million Facebook users.

Many Grand Rapids Community College students were concerned but not surprised at the news.

“I didn’t know all of this was going on, but I’m not surprised it is,” said Emily Schnepp, of Greenville. “Ads will pop up on Facebook for different websites that I have been on recently, and even pinned down to specific clothing or swim suits I had in my cart.”

Targeted advertising sharing tracking information across platforms seemed to be expected among some students.

“It seems like all… the government wants is to take control of our data, it’s not like they care about our privacy because (they’re) already tracking everything that we do, but they’re pissed (at Zuckerberg) for making money out of it,” said Ashleigh Mutangerwa, 20, of Grand Rapids. “All of the social media platforms use our data … I put myself out there when I open my Facebook account and agreed on the terms.”

Others were not too concerned about their data being used or sold.

“There does not need to be regulation, I don’t really care about my data,” explained Nick Wierenga, 21, of Grandville.

Thoa Dang, 24, from Vietnam, is “not concerned enough to leave” Facebook.

“I’ve been on Facebook for 10 years and everything is still good with me,” Dang said. “… I’ve had some friends accounts get hacked and that scares me a little bit.”

Meanwhile Sarah Deacon, 24, of Grand Rapids, recently paused her Facebook account.

“I’ve been hacked twice. I clicked on a picture that was sent to me and it sent out spam to all my friends,” Deacon said. “I’ve considered leaving Facebook a couple of times.”

Despite the concerns, one student saw the incident as a means to change his perception of his social media image.

“It actually makes me think more in like a business sense, so say your account was hacked and an employer were to see something someone posted that wasn’t you, you’d be screwed,” said Drew Pennington, 22, of Grand Rapids. “There would be no second chances or explaining your way out of that.”How do you feel about our data in today’s social media landscape? Would you consider leaving Facebook or social media at large to protect your online image? Let us know in the comments below.

 

The Collegiate staff reporter Najd Ayari, Aaron Stoner, Mike Staley, Riley Sheffler and Jack Hervela contributed to this story.