Monday December 17, 2018
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How social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter have become the fifth pillar of democracy

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By Arnab Mitra

“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses,” said Malcolm X. Most of the prominent media channels today are controlled by politicians and businessman, and their news is driven by an agenda. Social media deserves to be labelled another pillar of democracy for its ability to connect people on a single platform and ensure free expression.

In the recent Delhi elections, BJP spent huge chunks of money on advertisements on major newspapers during their pre-electoral campaigns. The mainstream media was all gaga over highlighting the so called achievements of the ruling party at the Centre. Little it was known that an emerging regional party like AAP’s focus on social media will change the course of elections. The results showed that how people have shifted their faith from mainstream media to social media.

‘So what’s the stand of the fourth pillar of the democracy? If they would not speak for the cause of people’, says, Amit chatterjee student of JNU. The Arab uprising, issues on Jan Lokpal bill, Nirbhaya incident have shown that it’s the voice of an average citizen that matters. A single tweet or a FB post shows potential to unite millions and yes, they have brought together people to fight for justice, if we are to buy the recent trends.

The media since its origin has betrayed the trite. It had served as a voice of the government in the past, however giving an impression of portraying the voice of the people. From Hickey’s Gazette to Caravan and during the time of emergency, the government and the people with power have always tried to choke voices and used as to control their power.

As visible, social media promises to be a new platform for people, as the opinion is not filtered while publishing and ‘The media of the people, by the people and for the people’ stands with dignity.

 

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Irish Watchdog Opens Inquiry into Latest Privacy Breach of Facebook

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump's campaign

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Irish watchdog opens inquiry into latest Facebook privacy breach. Pixabay

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has announced a fresh investigation into Facebook, a day after the social networking giant admitted another security breach where nearly 6.8 million users risked their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.

Facebook, which is already facing a probe from the Irish watchdog for a previous privacy leak in September that affected 50 million people, may end up with fine of 4 per cent of its annual turnover – the highest fine under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The Independent reported on Saturday.

In Facebook’s case, the fine could amount to nearly 1.5 billion euros.

“The Irish DPC has received a number of breach notifications from Facebook since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25, 2018,” a spokesperson for the watchdog was quoted as saying.

The fresh move came after Facebook on Friday said more than 1,500 apps built by 876 developers may have also been affected by the bug that exposed users’ unshared photos during a 12-day-period from September 13 to 25.

Facebook, in a statement, said it has fixed the breach and will roll out next week “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug”.

“Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorised to access their photos.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We’re sorry this happened,” said Facebook, adding that it will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert.

The disclosure is another example of Facebook’s failure to properly protect users’ privacy that may drew more criticism of its privacy policy.

Earlier this month, Italian regulators fined Facebook 10 million euros for selling users’ data without informing them.

The competition watchdog handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros, “also for discouraging users from trying to limit how the company shares their data”.

The Irish watchdog, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, in October opened a formal investigation into a data breach which affected 50 million users.

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“The investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes,” said the DPC.

The world’s largest social media network has been grilled over the past year for its mishandling of user data, including its involvement in a privacy scandal in March when Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm, was accused of illegally accessing the data of more than 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump’s campaign. (IANS)