[WHERE’S MY PRIVACY?] Ep. 3: Facebook Privacy with Jack Guinan

Thomas Reinhart, Staff Writer

Thomas: Hello everyone and welcome to “Where’s My Privacy?” My name is Thomas Reinhart, a junior at SPA, and I will be walking you through the privacy of your data on Facebook. Joining me today is Jack Guinan, a senior at SPA, who is here to tell us about his experience with user privacy on Facebook.

TR: I decided to start from the beginning and gather a bit of background information to set the scene for the interview.  I started by asking Guinan why he got a Facebook account.

Jack: So, I don’t remember exactly when I started to use Facebook but there was a point where I just kind of signed up for all the social media, and that included basically like, you know, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook everything. So I just kind of grouped it in with everything else.

TR: I followed this question up by asking Guinan how he would describe his experience on Facebook.  

JG: I mean I don’t use it that often, because I feel like mostly older people use it but a lot of times like my family will send out like invites to events and stuff and if I have to go to those like that’s kind of the first place to get that.

TR: Now to the good stuff.  I then asked Guinan if he was content with Facebook’s privacy, specifically the protection of user’s information on the platform.

JG: You hear a lot in the news about how Facebook, and like has privacy issues and how there’s all these different groups trying to influence opinions and how like lots of people get their accounts stolen. So I mean, I guess like nothing really has happened to me personally, but at the same time it is kind of worrying that these things happen on that site.

TR: He mentioned that he has not been affected personally by privacy leakage on Facebook, but he did in fact mention that a few of his family members were impacted.  He specifically mentioned one, his aunt, and said that she was affected by the famous Facebook scandal a few years back.

JG: It hasn’t really impacted me but I do have a couple family members who were actually impacted like my aunt had a lot of her I think passwords stolen and a lot of her usernames, she got locked out of some of her accounts, and she like had some credit card fraud going on because I guess her credit card password was the same as her Facebook password for the mobile banking but she did get the money back however was kind of a hassle. So, you know, it does kind of affect people in that way because a lot of people use the same password for a lot of sites. And I think that when she lost her account like she lost a lot of other accounts as well.

TR: Following up, I asked Guinan if his interpretation of the app had changed due to this privacy scare involving his aunt.

JG: I mean, it definitely made me change my password to say the least, I like it like I said the beginning. I don’t really use it all that much, but I do like, I’m kind of wary about using it now because I feel like that, that could happen to me if it happened to her it would probably be less likely that it would happen to me because I do use different passwords and I do like have like less data on that site 

TR: Guinan mentioned that he is not particularly concerned about the security of his information on Facebook itself, but that he is now wary of his privacy on other apps.  He specifically mentioned Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, and that this worry comes from the fact that Facebook owns this app, which he uses much more often.

JG: But you know Facebook owns Instagram, and you know that account I use much more often so I feel like there is still that possibility that that happens to me and I’d like to better protect myself.

TR: Finally, I asked Guinan to rank popular social media apps in order of his level of confidence based on the security of user information.  He mentions that he does not have much trust in any of them to begin with, but that Facebook is definitely towards the bottom.

JG: They’re probably like all kind of close to last comparing them might become a difficult because I don’t, like they’re not very transparent about what they do with all their information and none of them are so I don’t like comparing them to other like sites is going to be kind of hard but I don’t really trust any of them with a lot of my data but I you know I still give it to them like my Instagram profiles out there like Snapchat like Twitter like all those I use. So I just kind of like accept at this point that it’s probably going to be pretty difficult for me to like stay like keep my privacy, like where I would like it but yeah Facebook I don’t think it’s doing anything any better than any of the other sites.

TR: Guinan mentioned that he has gotten to the point where he just accepts that his data has a possibility of being leaked and shared but continues to use the app.  This is the sad truth about social media platforms and apps. Fueled by the famous Facebook scandal of recent years, users are now living with the knowledge that their data may be in jeopardy, but they continue to use these apps regardless of this fear.

TR: Overall, Guinan expressed that he is not extremely worried about the security of his privacy on Facebook or other social media apps to that extent, but that he is aware of the possibility that his data can be leaked.  Throughout our interview, I got the vibe from him that he is almost laissez-faire about the security of his data, as there is not much he personally can do to prevent data leakage. He, alike many others, are now at the point where they are forced to assume that their data is protected.

TR: Thank you for joining me today, Jack. Tune into other stories from our podcast series, “Where’s My Privacy,”  with features from Aryun Nemani, Tommy Verhey, and John Becker. From everyone on “Where’s My Privacy,” thank you for tuning in!