Assistant Professor Adam Chiara Comments on Keypoints for Facebook’s Controversies in Recent Interview

Jack Breton, Staff Writer

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Facebook, the extremely popular and multi-billion dollar social-network platform recently turned 15 years old. Founded in February 2004 in a Harvard dorm room, Facebook has since grown to be one of the largest companies, and websites, on the planet.

However, the company has come under fire in the last few years for several accusations of privacy violations and misuse of personal data. In a highly-publicized interview in front of Congress last year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg defended the company and their data-handling practices.

Now, the Federal Trade Commission (the FTC), is said to be in intense stages of an investigation into whether Facebook violated privacy rules.

Speaking last week with Fox 61 news, University of Hartford Assistant Professor of Communications Adam Chiara helped explain the investigation into Facebook, the accusations driving it, and the possible fines and repercussions that the company can face.

Chiara discussed several of the problems Facebook has come under fire for, including their role in the possible Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. Chiara stated that in 2016, the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica got access to 88 million people’s information who “did not give them permission”. He also said that it is what “sparked” the FTC to investigate Facebook.

Referencing a deal Facebook made in 2011 with the FTC to give users notification when their data was being used or released, Chiara said that Facebook did not honor this rule when the data was given to Cambridge Analytica.

When asked about if the information of the average Facebook user is safe, Chiara stated that despite “souring public opinion of Facebook”, many still use the platform without taking basic security steps to ensure the safety of their information. These include looking at privacy settings and restricting data that is being given.

Chiara concluded by alluding to Senator Blumenthal’s efforts in obtaining stronger regulation to protect data. He stated that Senator Blumenthal believes that it will be regulation that will solve the problems, not necessarily the general public changing specific Facebook settings.

It is not yet known how much Facebook could be fined for the data mishaps. Google was fined $22 Million Dollars in 2012 for privacy violations, and some say that the fine for Facebook could be potentially higher. Chiara stated that the fine could be “multi-million or multi-billion”.

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Assistant Professor Adam Chiara Comments on Keypoints for Facebook’s Controversies in Recent Interview