How the Response to the Facebook Data Breach Demonstrates Human Folly

Leah Hickman | Contributor to | Thursday, April 12, 2018

How the Response to the Facebook Data Breach Demonstrates Human Folly

Thanks to recent revelations about Facebook data breaches, the world has been reminded once again of the social network’s irresponsible handling of users’ personal information.

Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, faced two day of congressional hearings as a direct consequence of his company’s mistakes. But, as Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times observes, the chances of the general public actually changing their behavior as a result of Facebook misdemeanors are slim.

“Politicians can scream from the rooftops about privacy,” Sorkin writes, “and they should. But the public has proved over and over again that it doesn’t care.” He cites past cases of breaches at Home Depot, Target, and Yahoo. In these cases, he observes, most users still went back to use these same stores and sites, even after their problems came to the light.

If anything is really going to change when it comes to the accountability of these massive companies, Sorkin says, it’s going to have to come from regulators. There’s no way the behavior of the consumer will change much.

As Sorkin’s headline reads, “Failed by Facebook, we’ll return to the scene of the crime. We always do.” His description of the consumer in this situation resembles the fool described in Proverbs 26:11, which reads, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” The way of the fool is and has always been, to some extent, way of human nature. And this case is no exception. The general public will keep on using Facebook despite the fact that their information has been abused.

Since the public seems to care little, these companies have little incentive to be careful with the personal information they collect. As Sorkin observes, the companies that experience data breaches don’t even lose that much money in the end. And, even in the wake of Facebook’s past breaches, the community of users only grew.

With this sort of unimpressive repercussions, it makes sense why Facebook decision makers can get away with igoring their own problems.


Leah Hickman is a 2017 graduate of Hillsdale College’s English program. She freelances for and has written pieces for multiple Hillsdale College campus publications as well as for and the Discover Laura Blog. Read more by Leah at

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/SasinParaksa

Publication date: April 12, 2018