Facebook, Friend or Foe?
There is constant controversy surrounding Facebook, and politicians in Washington D.C. are failing to react in an effective manner. It was brought to the public’s attention that there were privacy concerns regarding third-party apps using the Facebook platform. Congress called Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook’s Founder and CEO, in for an interview. According to the New York Times, “Senators warned that they are skeptical that the company can regulate itself and threatened to enact privacy rules and other regulations. They said they weren’t sure if they could trust a company that has repeatedly violated its privacy promises.” That is one of Facebook's many problems in recent months and years.
This comes on the heels of the realization that Facebook allowed allies of the Russian Government to influence U.S. elections in 2016, which continues to this day. It appears that Congress does not want to look out for people using the Facebook platform which gives the company its own discretion. They must use their oversight authority more effectively so that we can ensure that people are remaining safe while using social media. Third party apps and election meddling are just the beginnings of an unraveling web at Facebook.
According to Sarah Salinas with CNBC, “Facebook said Monday it is considering a Messenger feature that would incorporate a user's bank information, but denied it is asking for financial transaction data for advertising.” It has also been revealed that Facebook is attempting to purchase private transaction data from the largest banks in the U.S. including Chase and Wells Fargo. This raises even more concerns about Facebook’s usage of their users’ data. If they are trying to make it easier to run a transaction via their website, the public needs to know where that information is being stored and who has access to it. It is difficult for me to trust a company with sensitive financial information when they fail to secure the data they currently hold. Politicians, must work together to ensure that Facebook is following federal laws in order to protect we the people. Otherwise, the company will be able to do whatever it wants without any thought of future consequences.
“Onavo collects your mobile data traffic … Because we’re part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences.” (Investopedia)
Ultimately, holding Facebook accountable is the responsibility of the people using Facebook. If you don’t want information getting into the wrong hands, then think twice or even three times before liking a product or organization. It isn’t entirely Mark Zuckerburg’s fault for monetizing user data when we are giving him opportunities to access it freely. It may be better to start implementing a paid subscription to Facebook so that the company can make a profit while not feeling the need to sell or purchase data about its users. The world we live in revolves around data analytics and it is the end user’s responsibility to ensure that they hold companies accountable while using social media platforms. Remaining vigilant is the only way to ensure that your data is secure in the 21st century and beyond, as it seems that we can’t rely on Congress for their assistance. Though, ultimately who works for whom? Are we elected by them or are they elected by us?
Shobit, Seth. “Apple Bans Facebook App- Cites Illicit Data Sharing.”
The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/10/us/politics/mark-zuckerberg-testimony.html