Is Zuckerberg out of control? Will the General Data Protection Regulation solve the selling of information to brands? While it may slow down the advance of the tech industry, it may well just be a temporary countermeasure.
Zuckerberg: Sharing Your Data
Facebook’s business model depends almost entirely on advertising. Confusing terms of service obscure the true nature of the agreement. In exchange for allowing consumers to use the social network for free, it mines information to sell to brands. And Facebook gets by far the better end of the deal. While Facebook provides tools that let members control who they share their data with effectively deploying them is not an easy task. Even Zuckerberg accepts that the average person rarely understands the terms of service.
I’m sure that he’s happy with the status quo, despite the fact he has pledged to make changes and reforms in Facebook policy to prevent similar breaches. On March 25, 2018, Zuckerberg published a personal letter in various paper newspapers apologizing on behalf of Facebook. In April they decided to implement the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation in all areas of operation and not just the EU.
Zuckerberg and Regulation
All over the country, lawyers are toasting each other. They’re going to clean up advising companies on new, bafflingly complex EU regulations governing what companies can do with our online data. And we too should raise a glass to the arrival of this regulatory juggernaut. Outfits like Cambridge Analytica should not be able to harvest the details of millions of Facebook users.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation, companies will need our explicit consent to sell on our data. They will have to be hotter on security issues. And they’ll have to enforce our right to be forgotten, deleting things we wish we hadn’t put on the web; they’ll face huge fines if they don’t. Yes, there are downsides. Small companies will find it hard to absorb the cost of compliance, so it will restrict competition and entrench the power of the very corporations who’ve been taking advantage of us. Yet slowing the advance of the tech industry is no bad thing. Humans just aren’t designed to adapt to very rapid change. I, for one, could use a pause before lurching into whatever fresh hell artificial intelligence has in store for us.
And for me, so long as the $450bn company’s ad-driven business created by Zuckerberg conflicts with users’ privacy interests, it cannot be trusted to police itself. Regardless of whatever Regulations are put in place.