The Cambridge Analytica and Facebook mess that's unfolding this week will change how people think about and use social media, and bring in greater scrutiny of the networks as well.
On the surface, it's a good thing because not even the social networks seem to understand what they're doing, connecting millions of people everywhere to one another and to companies that can siphon up their data.
Most people who aren't developers have probably never heard of Facebook's Graph Application Programming Interface (API) through which coders get the very detailed information about everyone and their friends.
Graph API and other Facebook features are extremely powerful tools. In the wrong hands, they can be abused to sway elections it seems.
Cambridge Analytica created psychological profiles for some 50 million people through an app that just 270,000 people used, purportedly for academic research, but it allegedly ended up as psy-ops tools for swaying elections around the world.
Note that Cambridge Analytica broke no laws or even Facebook's terms and conditions for using the API. This is how it was meant to be used, but not what users consented to. Unwinding the mess and wrestling back control over your information will be a very difficult balancing act though.
Is it even possible to undo the data collection by app companies? Looking at my own Facebook account, I've given 60 apps permission to access it and therefore, my data.
I could revoke permission to the apps, but the data cat's out of the bag and my information is somewhere else. Where it is I don't know, nor do I know what it's being used for.
Deleting apps from Facebook only means they don't get any new data.
If you want to check or delete what Facebook data they have, you need to contact the app owner which in many cases requires logging in with Facebook.
If you remember the name of the app that you deleted, and where it came from that is.
You could also turn off the Facebook Platform of services and tools completely, and halt Facebook's integration of your data with millions of websites around the world.
That'll break your use of heaps of apps and again, won't delete existing data held by them.
Delete your Facebook account? Probably not going to help, as the social network has "shadow profiles" on non-users and infers data on these through their friends who are active on Facebook.
It's not clear that it's better if the pendulum swings towards users and social networks become regulated. On the one hand, we don't want surveillance capitalism and information warfare via social networks. However, on the other hand, from a freedom of speech point of view, is it desirable that social networks limit what can be published on them, whether it's good or bad?
That data can be captured and easily linked to individuals and specific groups of people, and that can be used for good, and for bad.
Getting control over your data feels like an important right to individuals, but the thought of information troves being instantly deletable makes historians, journalists, sociologists and scientists go green around the gills.
This is especially the case if politicians and public figures were able to delete material to avoid transparency. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies wouldn't be happy either if criminals and spies could remove their spoors from the net just like that.
Instagram provides an easy way for cops to keep track of bikie gang members and what they're up - check out some #hashtags of popular gangs and see for yourself.
Whatever happens, social networks have shot themselves in the foot by losing user trust.
After scandals such as Cambridge Analytica, people will become more circumspect with what they put online, and how they use social media.
This in turn will hit social networks as their data will become less rich and valuable.
Which is fair enough. Enormous data repositories such as Facebook and the firms that tap into them show us why we need to dial back the power of social media.
The data on users that Cambridge Analytica acquired was collected legitimately under Facebook's rules at the time. This is what I referred to above, and Facebook has acknowledged the very same.
Facebook has now accused the researcher who collected the data in 2013, Aleksandr Kogan, of having violated its policies by sharing the information with third parties. Kogan does not believe he violated Facebook's policies however.
Despite the policies to prevent information misuse by developers, Facebook's former executive in charge of data policy violations between 2011 and 2012, Sandy Parakilas, said the social network had very few ways to discover abuses however, or to act on ones it found.
This is borne out in Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's post today, in which he says the social network only found out about the alleged violation of its policies by Cambridge Analytica in 2015 through journalists.
Zuckerberg acknowledges that at the time, Facebook freely allowed access to the data of the friends of the people who had downloaded apps. "Given the way our platform worked at the time this meant Kogan was able to access tens of millions of their friends' data," Zuckerberg said.
As a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook will further tighten its rules and reduce the amount of data developers can access, to prevent further abuse.