We all have accepted Facebook as a part of modern life and it is unavoidable if you want to stay in touch with the people you love. Although it has only been available for over 15 years, Facebook is actively used by more than a billion people. One person has a lot of Facebook accounts to manage, which is why Facebook’s history isn’t always flawless.
Let’s take a look at some of the mistakes Mark Zuckerberg made in the evolution of Facebook. I’ll give you a little spoiler: they’re all about privacy.
Default visibility to the public
If you pay attention to Facebook’s privacy settings, the current default option is to show information only to your friends. At one time, when the ability to log in with Facebook on different websites was launched in 2008, this default setting was public. The big problem with this is that your web browsing history becomes public knowledge, as even non-Facebook users can see which sites you’ve visited. Just imagine!
exposed millions of phone numbers
In what Facebook called a “bug,” millions of phone numbers were exposed. While this was bad enough, there was a fair amount of phone numbers that belonged to people who didn’t even have Facebook accounts. These were simply numbers exchanged by friends and stored in Facebook data. Needless to say, people weren’t happy about it.
Tracking user purchases
Facebook at one point not only tracked users’ purchases through a program called Beacon, but also published information in news feeds without users giving their express permission. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for the beacon to be removed by adding an opt-out feature, used by most Facebook users at the time.
Social media is the perfect platform for fake news and the best social media platform of them all is Facebook. The largest fake news scandal related to the 2016 election, where more than a hundred pro-Trump accounts were linked to a small town in Macedonia. These accounts spread all kinds of fake news to sway the election in Trump’s favor, although it’s hard to quantify how much this fake news actually affected the outcome of the election.
Share first, ask later
After complaints were filed with the Federal Trade Commission in 2009, Facebook was deemed too lax with user data. The main problem is that even though people keep their information in a private account, some information is made public behind users’ backs. People are having trouble deleting their accounts, but access is still possible. This led to a huge outcry with people demanding that no information be shared with third parties or advertisers without the express consent of users.
Raised view numbers
Advertisers are the only people who actually pay for anything on Facebook. While it may not bother you or me that Facebook’s metrics don’t accurately count video views, advertisers are pissed off. Incorrect metrics mean they pay more for their ads, which is something advertisers don’t like. Despite fears that advertisers would be overcharged, Facebook publicly said the issue had no impact on the bill.