When Do We Stop Promoting Facebook in Digital Development?

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Another day, and yet another data privacy failure at Facebook, which had over 21 major privacy scandals in 2018 alone. It was a big year, with Russian trolls, Cambridge Analytica, and multiple malicious profile data leaks.
Facebook Tracks You Even If You Don’t Use Facebook
Then Facebook ended the year with a Privacy International bombshell: Android apps were sharing user data with Facebook, even if you didn’t have a Facebook account.
We’ve known that Facebook routinely tracks users, but now its clear that it tracks both logged-out users and non-users outside its platform through the Facebook Software Development Kit that app developers used to build apps for the Android operating system. Facebook is tracking everyone’s device details, visited websites, purchases, viewed ads, and more – whether or not you have a Facebook account or are logged into Facebook
Worse, even though Facebook’s Cookies Policy describes two ways people who do not have a Facebook account can opt out of Facebook cookies, Privacy International found neither had any discernible impact on user data sharing.
Both of these actions are potential legal violations of GDPR, and are certainly ethical violations of user trust.
Of course, this third-party tracking isn’t limited to Facebook. Even more free apps on the Google Play Store share user data with Google’s parent company Alphabet. Proving yet again that if its free then your data is the product.
When Do We Stop Promoting Facebook?
With each new privacy failure, I go through another round of hand-wringing about using Facebook. Back in 2012, I wasn’t worried about Facebook privacy in general, but I did draw the line at companies conspiring to alter my Internet experience by sharing data across sectors – exactly what is now happening.
As a result, I cut down my Facebook usage in 2018, and with this new breach of trust, I feel like its time to reject Facebook completely in my private life. Time to go back to blogging again and (gasp!) off-line, real-life experiences.
Yet, is it possible to shut off Facebook in our digital development efforts? As Digital at DAI found, Facebook is still extremely popular with our constituents:
Facebook, in particular, is omnipresent. Almost everywhere we’ve performed research for Frontier Insights, we’ve found heavy Facebook usage, particularly among youth and particularly in urban areas where 3G and 4G data are more accessible. This pattern has held across Cambodia, Honduras, Palestine, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh and just about everywhere else we’ve asked about it.
We All Know Why Facebook is Loved
As Steve Song commented, on Facebook, of course, Facebook and its many subsidiaries make it very easy for individuals, groups, organizations, and small businesses, to launch conversations and reach new constituents. That’s why many development organizations have Facebook chatbots, Facebook Groups, and a WhatsApp engagement strategy.

Could rejecting Facebook, even actively advocating against its usage, be the way forward? Or would outright rejection will do more harm than good?
If we stay, we certainly risk having our own Cambridge Analytica moment with Facebook.
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