Invading privacy is social media business model

If you want an idea of the magnitude of the privacy scandal involving Facebook, consider this: There are about 117 million households in the United States, according to the Census Bureau.

As many as 87 million people, most in this country, had personal data collected by Facebook accessed by Cambridge Analytica, Facebook admitted last week. The information allegedly was used to benefit political candidates, including President Donald Trump.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted the privacy scandal was “a huge mistake … my mistake.” Members of Congress are upset enough about it that they plan to grill Zuckerberg during a hearing.

Lost in the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal is the fact most social media operations rely on data mining for their profits. They collect information about users and sell it to marketing firms, among others.

Facebook appears to be attempting to clean up its act — to an extent. It will provide users with more information about data collection and more opportunities to opt out of it.

But the bottom line is that invading privacy in ways small and large keeps some social media companies in business. Users ignore that at their peril.