Is it possible that anyone these days is unaware of our current online privacy frenzy? Facebook got busted for sharing millions of user data accounts with third-party vendors. The result? Thousands of lawyers are busy whipping up new privacy policies that none of us reads, yet must agree to before we can access a staggering number of websites.
When Mark Zuckerberg spent five hours with Congress, he talked about things like cookies, privacy and his opening up Facebook data files to third-party vendors.
Here are some key takeaways:
- Facebook’s policy was inadequate and confusing. Broad agreements haven’t kept pace with the increase in data fields and the information that makes up user profiles.
- Lindsey Graham: “Most Americans have no idea what they are signing up for because Facebook’s terms of service are beyond comprehension.”
2. Regulation is coming
There’s a growing appetite for imposing laws to govern the behavior of Facebook and other social-media companies. To think that these companies will police themselves is laughable. One more thing: If you think that other companies aren’t indiscriminately using your data, you’re being naïve. Facebook is just the one that got caught.
3. Say hello to the Facebook monopoly conversation
Facebook is the world’s biggest social-media platform, receiving more than 87% of digital advertising revenue in 2017. The most popular alternative to Facebook? Instagram, also owned by Facebook. Lindsey Graham again: “Contrary to Mr. Zuckerberg’s assertion, Facebook is a virtual monopoly and monopolies need to be regulated.”
4. Solving content woes with artificial intelligence
Finding and eliminating hate speech from the network is one of the hardest problems to tackle, but artificial intelligence can help solve the issue in 5-10 years. Facebook has said before that its staff focused on sensitive security and community issues would grow to 20,000 people by the end of the year.
5. Facebook has no idea how much damage has been done
Lawmakers wanted to know what groups besides political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained user data.Facebook doesn’t know how much data was harvested, bought and sold. Legislators and most users believe that Facebook hasn’t done enough to prevent its tools from being misused.
6. Zuckerberg did better than expected
Zuckerberg’s performance apparently won over investors and a few lawmakers.
- Zuckerberg’s performance ostensibly went a long way towards restoring trust of investors and legislators. Shares of Facebook rallied 4.5% after one of the company’stoughest weeks on record.
- Facebook has a significant mess to clean up. What can they do to ensure that data remain safe? They can’t guarantee anything. Facebook needs to be accountable, demonstrating to users that they’ve improved and their systems are better.
Facebook has apologized and promised to self-correct; is that enough?
Many users have closed down their accounts. Others are apprehensive, looking for Facebook to step up and be accountable, becoming the model for responsible cyber citizenship. Trust can erode a relationship. Their ability to protect user data will have serious implications for Facebook’s future.