Back in 2018, Mark Zuckerberg had a really bad, no good day.
After it was found out Facebook had a working agreement with data analyzing firm Cambridge Analytica, where they accessed scores of private information from over 50 million Facebook users, Zuckerberg finds himself in the hot seat once again.
The term ‘once again’ is used, because this isn’t the first time he had to apologize for violating the privacy rights of users. He’s done it several times and has been fined by the FTC increasing amounts each time he’s done it.
A lot of it has to do with the way Facebook is structured. Last year, they made over $39 billion (or 98% if their revenue), from advertising alone. They make their money by taking your data and selling it to the highest bidder.
Everything you do on Facebook is recorded and tells a story about you. That’s how it creepily seems to know everything you’re thinking and every website you visit. Your profile is then sold to groups like Cambridge Analytica and ends up in the hands of politicians (or whoever wants it).
Apple’s Vastly Different Approach to the Privacy War
Apple, on the other hand, is a fierce defender of their user’s right to privacy. We can remember back in 2015 when the FBI wanted to get into the phone of San Bernardino mass shooter Syed Farook, but Apple refused to help them.
Yes, they’re that much into privacy.
Apple isn’t much into selling people’s information and they’ve built that sense of trust into their products. In fact, it’s the perfect marketing ploy for Apple who uses privacy as a sales pitch. This is why CEO Tim Cook went hard after Facebook last Wednesday after news of the information breech went viral.
Speaking with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Cook was quoted as calling privacy “a civil liberty and human right.”
“[When] all of a sudden something is chasing me around the web,” Cook said, “I find it creepy.”
The difference in ideals may stem from the two different business practices. To use Facebook is a 100% free experience for users, so they must make their billions somehow. They do it through advertising. Alternatively, Apple sells millions of devices, hardware, and more.
Facebook Wasn’t the First and Won’t Be the Last
It wasn’t but in 2005 when Amazon was at the forefront of everyone’s mind when it came to potential privacy violations. The Associated Press questioned whether the online retail giant was doing a little too much with the information they had on their customers.
Data collection is a massive industry. If you could amass information on whatever everyone buys, sells, what they think, who they like, who they voted for, et cetera, there’s someone out there who will spend a nice chunk of change for the info.
Is this even an issue for most users? According to Wesley Chan, one of the early product managers with Google, we already know about these issues and don’t seem to care too much.
“The problem is with Facebook and Google and even Apple, you’re already bought into the service. What alternative do you have?” Chan says. “You’re switching from Apple to Android or Android to Apple, but you’re unfortunately locked onto one of those systems, or both.”
The Coming War
It really seems as if people are finally waking up in this digital age. We’re finally starting to understand just how much of our information is freely out there. Personal details about our lives are stolen and reused time and time again.
It’s not just users who are waking up. In light of these recent revelations, several big-time companies have broken away from Facebook and even deleted their page!
Not only did “#deletefacebook” become a worldwide trend, but Elon Musk took the words to heart and actually deleted his pages (SpaceX, Tesla, and his personal account) from the giant social media site. Playboy soon followed. Sonos and other companies promised to pull all advertising dollars from Facebook as well.
All of this leaves us wondering what will happen next. Is Facebook about to go the way of Myspace? Will consumers start boycotting companies that advertise on Facebook?
Only time will tell, but it certainly seems as if things are about to change. Zuckerberg briefly mentioned in an interview that perhaps regulations on Facebook “won’t be a bad thing”, but he didn’t seem enthusiastic about the idea.
Facebook changing the way it handles advertisements and data sharing can potentially impact millions of businesses who rely on the traffic from the site, several who are already pulling their pages and disconnecting from their millions of followers.
Where do you stand on this issue? Are you okay with what Facebook does with your information? Or do you think they’ve gone far enough?