You Are The Product: Facebook Won’t Notify 500 Million Affected by Hack

When it comes to the social media business model, the users ARE the product

Image Credits: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images.

Facebook didn’t notify 500 million users affected by a recent hack and doesn’t plan on doing so, according to news reports.

Business Insider reported last week that phone numbers and other details from user profiles were leaked on a public database, which Facebook confirmed by stating that “malicious actors” exploited a vulnerability in the platform’s tool for synching contacts prior to Sept. 2019.

“The Facebook spokesman said the social media company was not confident it had full visibility on which users would need to be notified,” reported Reuters. “He said it also took into account that users could not fix the issue and that the data was publicly available in deciding not to notify users.”

“Facebook has said it plugged the hole after identifying the problem at the time.”

The other factor likely at hand is that, when it comes to the social media business model, the users ARE the product.

Put it this way, if a grocery store breaks a case of jelly on aisle #4, it is going to notify the jelly? No.

Of course, people are not jars of jelly, but when it comes to the business of social media, people are the product no different than inanimate objects sold in stores.

What else does Facebook sell? Advertising? Given that the company has been embroiled in controversy over its advertising model, it’s not exactly the company’s primary focus.

And what makes Facebook’s advertising model even work? The users.

Viewed through this lens, Facebook’s response to the hack isn’t surprising, although it’s also worth pointing out that it’s possible 500 million people weren’t really affected given how many fake “bot” profiles exist on the site.

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