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The Facebook data debacle may not change internet behavior

Experts say there’s little people can do to control their personal information online

By
7:00am, April 15, 2018
photo illustration of person typing on a laptop

DATA DRAMA In the aftermath of another high-profile data breach, there’s reason to doubt whether many people will want — or be able to — keep much more of their digital lives private.

If you’re not paying, you’re the product, so the saying goes. For years, Facebook users have known that they — or, more specifically, their data — make up the bulk of the goods the social media company leverages for profit.

Then came news that London-based data firm Cambridge Analytica accessed an estimated 87 million Facebook profiles without permission and used that data for political campaigning. The public was incensed.  

The hashtag #DeleteFacebook started trending on Twitter, and media outlets have published a slew of how-tos on blocking online snoops. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was brought before Congress April 10 and 11 to answer for the company’s handling of user data.

But it’s unclear if the uproar will actually change how people behave online or help them wrest more control over their data. Experts on human behavior and online privacy say people’s expectations of privacy may simply become a thing of

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