Facebook and School Data: The Conundrum
After exposing the personal and private photos of as many as 6.8 million users to third party apps back in December, Facebook has had a rough stretch wrapping up 2018.
According to CNN, “The company said it believes the photos could have been accessed by 1,500 apps built by 876 developers.”
Four days later, the New York Times released a report of the company’s treatment of the personal data of its users. Perhaps the most eye-popping quote from the report:
“In late 2009, it changed the privacy settings of the 400 million people then using the service, making some of their information accessible to all of the internet.”
What does this mean?
Interesting times ahead for not only Facebook, but also for schools. Facebook clearly, despite its claims otherwise, deals in data. Many schools use Facebook as a primary marketing channel. Sports and clubs use Facebook to organize and share information and updates. Many teachers use Facebook to connect parents and share school information, including photos. With these recent revelations, schools are going to have to choose if they will continue to use Facebook. If so, how they will they use it, and what exactly is appropriate to share in that space? Two things to consider:
- Everyone needs to be thoughtful about what they share on Facebook and ask themselves how comfortable they are having that data shared with companies and organizations.
- If you’re a school using Facebook to share and store photos of your students, you might want to start having some conversations around whether or not it is the right tool to use.
All of this reinforces the need for schools to have a process around selecting the technology that it uses. When doing so, a school needs to ask itself:
- How does using this technology affect my students?
- Does this tech value my students as I do?
- Will it protect our students’ data or will it exploit it?
Is your school having these discussions?
Let us know! We’d love to hear more in the comments.