Facebook users taking closer look at privacy settings after data news

Many Facebook users are taking a closer look at their privacy settings in the wake of information about personal user data finding its way into the hands of third party companies.

'My privacy is turned up pretty high'

Recent revelations about Facebook's handling of personal data have some people rethinking their use of the social media app. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

Many Facebook users are taking a closer look at their privacy settings in the wake of information about personal user data finding its way into the hands of third party companies.

With these revelations some have decided to make their data more secure by changing settings, while others have deleted the app altogether. 

It's no longer just a platform to talk to your friends or see what's going on. This really brings it to mind, what the real purpose is.- Lori Uza

Colin Farrell of Charlottetown says the recent news about the social media app wasn't a shock to him.

"They were kind of caught up in something a few years back about sort of, manipulating people's feeds and how that would affect their moods, so nothing really surprises me with how that goes now," he said.

Farrell said he has been trying to limit his use.

"I've cut down on it quite a bit. I don't have it on my phone anymore and you know I think it's not necessarily the most healthy thing," he said.

"My privacy is turned up pretty high."

Everything I do is on the record, and I live my life accordingly so I'm not really worried about privacy issues.- Jared Doyle

Lori Uza, on vacation in P.E.I. from Ontario, said she wasn't surprised by the recent news, but was disappointed in the company.

"It's no longer just a platform to talk to your friends or see what's going on. This really brings it to mind, what the real purpose is."

Uza said while on P.E.I. she has only been using Facebook messenger to keep in contact with people back home, but hasn't been looking through her news feed.

"It's such an integral part of our everyday lives that most people can't go an hour without using it, much less a day."

'It’s such an integral part of our everyday lives that most people can’t go an hour without using it, much less a day,' says Lori Uza of Ontario. (CBC)

Jared Doyle uses Instagram much more than Facebook and said he wasn't concerned with the news.

"It's pretty wild. I don't think too much of it," he said.

"Everything I do is on the record, and I live my life accordingly so I'm not really worried about privacy issues."

Who's to blame?

For Uza and Farrell the responsibility falls on both users and the company to protect personal information.

"I think the onus should be on the app or the organization that's sort of running it," Farrell said.

I think it's a miracle that we have these platforms. I think it's a tool that we can use, we can abuse it as well, but I think ultimately it just exposes who we are so I'm not concerned at all.- Jared Doyle

"But we do have sort of a responsibility ourselves to make sure that we don't get exploited because they obviously don't have our best interests in mind."

"I think that Facebook has responsibilities to be looking out for their clients, their users, as much as if not more than they're looking out for their advertisers and themselves," Uza said.

"On the other hand, I'm an adult … you should be able to control yourself, and make those decisions yourself…. You can't just depend on one or depend on the other."

Many users are taking a closer look at their privacy settings after hearing about personal user data being used by third party companies. (Facebook)

Doyle said he is happy that apps like Facebook exist because they help him with his work as a photographer.

"I use these platforms to showcase a lot of my work and stay connected with other artists throughout the world," he said.

"I think it's a miracle that we have these platforms. I think it's a tool that we can use, we can abuse it as well, but I think ultimately it just exposes who we are so I'm not concerned at all."

Farrell said though he is concerned, it isn't going to be easy to disconnect.

"Maybe someday, but it's hard because you keep track of friends on there. It does leave kind of a gap because so much communication is done that way now," he said.

"It all kind of becomes just so integrated into our lives in how we consume media and information."

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With files from Island Morning