In case you don’t follow me on Twitter, I bought Facebook stock during the dip following the news breaking about Cambridge Analytica. I sent out a Tweet asking if that was a dumb decision or if people thought Facebook would get back on its feet. Technically the verdict is still out, but confidence is waning among investors as stock continues to drop day after day.
Facebook, the social media giant has been a behemoth of an organization for the past decade. Anyone who has spoken out against their future has been proven wrong time and time again. Competitors MySpace, SnapChat, and Google+ are either dead, dying, or never were alive. Even The Social Network, a film that attempts to trash Mark Zuckerberg both makes the man look like a genius and serves as free advertising for the platform. It is difficult to take down a monopoly. Don’t believe me? You should Bing it. If that sentence doesn’t make sense, that’s because normal people would use the term “Google.”
However, Facebook is approaching a fate similar to what Hollywood faced in the past year. Cambridge Analytica seems to be the straw that will break the camel’s back. Manipulating emotions wasn’t scary enough (and was probably overstated). The Russian attempt to skew the elections was just a bit too abstract. These two examples were probably not big news because of people’s idea that the scandals would not really affect them. People don’t usually think they are easily duped just as most assume they are a above-average drivers.
Unlike the previous scandals, the Cambridge Analytica case is huge! If you want info on the scandal, this article gives a great straightforward explanation. The writer says the scandal has sparked a “debate over how much users can trust Facebook with their data.” That statement comes from the fact that this ‘new’ threat (only new in that people are now aware of it) is not a threat of being tricked but a threat of losing personal property.
I had a corny metaphor about how personal data is like a swimming pool and how we let certain people come swim in it, but it was a bit oversimplified. Instead, I would encourage you to read a great discussion of this issue written by @roarkword. However, the question remains: Can we trust Facebook? Certainly, the market shows they trust Facebook less. The #DeleteFacebook movement has shown that as well.
I’m not even going to claim that what Facebook did was okay. However, I don’t think there were any ill intentions. They asked us to “click ‘Agree’ ” for apps to have access to our data. Because we gave explicit permission (despite the fact that people may or may not pay attention to what they are clicking), Facebook initially thought it was fine for apps to have a lot more data on us. After all, we okayed it! Furthermore, it would seem that more data is better: the apps’ models (think Spotify recommendations) could become more effective – and increase our customer satisfaction – if they knew more about us. Facebook has since learned that despite the potential benefits, the risk is not worth it.
Regardless of whether you are on the #DeleteFacebook bandwagon, we all actually need Facebook to succeed. Facebook faces big policy issues regarding data assets. If they are able to succeed in finding a solution, they will likely be the ones to set industry standard. If they don’t, who else could possibly set the standard? What other website has such enormous amounts of data tracked for individuals? Google. Perhaps there could be collaboration between these two giants to discuss what policies need to be put in place to protect users. It seems too idealistic to think the government can make laws and regulations to perfect this situation.
What do you think? What is the future of user data security?