Canada’s Privacy Commission ruled that Facebook violated privacy laws by allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest users’ data.
The investigation by Canadian authorities found an estimated 87 million people worldwide had their data compromised through Facebook, with Facebook “failing to obtain valid and meaningful consent of installing users” as well as “having inadequate safeguards to protect user information.”
To which Facebook essentially said, “Eh . . . so what.”
The social media giant basically told the Canadian agency that what Canada discovered is not true and that the company would not address the concerns raised.
Meanwhile, in America, during a conference call on earnings, Facebook officials said it anticipates being fined upward of $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for failure to protect consumers’ data.
The response? Facebook stock value increased.
Still think Facebook has your best interest at heart?
We’ve been beating the drum for some time now that social media is not the godsend users think it is . . . especially when it comes to business.
Seeing how entertainers used MySpace as a promotional vehicle, Facebook established itself as one of the best places for businesses to promote goods and services at no cost. But no cost doesn’t increase shareholder value, so Facebook slowly rolled out measures to ensure that users pay to get material seen.
Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm today is designed to catch certain key words and, if those words are used, limit exposure of those posts . . . that is, unless the user (business) is willing to pay.
The latest move we’re hearing is Facebook’s effort to stamp out engagement accelerators. For example, a business will give away something — such as tickets to a sporting event or movie — and to qualify, users have to like the post (the more likes, the more Facebook will spread the post to users), comment on the post (comments tell Facebook to spread the post even further) and to share the post (sharing is the biggest indicator to Facebook that a post needs as wide exposure as possible).
Or, at least, that’s the way it used to work. Facebook is tamping down on those attempts to increase activity on a business’ page, so increasing engagement in this manner won’t work . . . that is, unless the user (business) is willing to pay.
We don’t begrudge Facebook’s efforts to earn money. Facebook is a publisher of content, just like this newspaper. We are bothered, however, by Facebook’s apparent lackadaisical attitude toward data protection.
We’re also bothered that so many businesses and nonprofit organizations believe that use of Facebook as the exclusive marketing tool is the wisest move, only to see those businesses close their doors due to a lack of customers.
Use Facebook for what it should be used for — sharing cute kitten videos and inappropriate memes. Anything else is just asking for trouble.