How leaked documents may change how people use Facebook, social media

Facebook comes under fire after document leak

A document leak at Facebook put a spotlight on the power of social media.

DETROIT – With a click of a mouse or a swipe of a screen you can connect with businesses, family and old friends all over the world -- but with Facebook now under fire, it has people looking at social media differently.

The leak of thousands of internal documents from Facebook is putting the power of social media in the spotlight.

That power goes well beyond just Facebook and Instagram. Tuesday, representatives from Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube testified before a Senate panel focused on keeping children safe online.

“I don’t participate as far as posting my personal information. I’m kind of private like that, but just get in and out,” a man said.

It doesn’t matter what you use it for, many people have a Facebook account. Some, have had their reservations from the start.

“We didn’t use to have this, we had to make phone calls we had the read the newspaper,” a woman said.

After issues of misinformation that have been fueling divisiveness across the country came to light, many people have been rethinking their opinions about social media.

Janell Townsend, Ph.D., professor of marketing and chair for the department of management and marketing at Oakland University said there’s a chance Facebook could see long-term damages to its brand.

“People are gonna think there’s going to be a difference, perhaps, and a level of trust that they have with Facebook as a product. And do they really want to share on Facebook, or can they believe what they see on Facebook?” Townsend said.

She said it is similar to when a celebrity gets bad press and loses an endorsement. Companies may eventually need to ask some tough questions and re-evaluate if they want to use Facebook.

“What are the implications of that? Are there negative connotations associated with that?” Townsend said.

She doesn’t think this is the end for Facebook.

“I don’t see that Facebook’s going away anytime soon, but they certainly face a lot of challenges and a lot of bad ones moving forward,” Townsend said.

She also said the potential concerns people now have could bleed into other companies under Facebook’s umbrella-like Instagram. Townsend also expects, in the near future, there to be more legislation to protect personal data while on social media.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.