There has been much hullabaloo recently over social media giant Facebook and accusations that personal information on its users was leaked. Founder Mark Zuckerberg has spent weeks saying he’s sorry and wound up testifying before Congress this past week.
This stems from revelations last month that the political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, which was affiliated with President Trump’s 2016 campaign, improperly utilized data on about 87 million users.
A few thoughts here.
First, the social media landscape, and even the internet, are still very much the wild, wild west. There has been very little regulation governing content while the more traditional media outlets such as newspapers, radio and television have long ago accepted certain restrictions.
In his remarks to congressional leaders, Zuckerberg admitted that some regulation of social media is inevitable. Sadly, those he was speaking to seemed to barely understand Facebook and what to do with it.
No, we don’t want to limit free speech. Nor do we want to stifle public discourse.
But, someone does need to step up and be the new sheriff in this town.
Second, it is amazing that many of the people who are concerned about their personal information being shared are the same ones who blithely post intimate details about their daily lives and share them with the world. They also include detail profiles of themselves.
Here’s an idea – don’t post this stuff.
In a way, Facebook suffers from a similar problem as newspapers. In both cases, many in the public view them as a public service that they should have access to for free.
That is not the case. At their hearts, both are businesses.
Facebook is an advertising platform, a money-making venture that just happens to allow a way for society to share information.
Sure, sensible regulation is needed. But, users must also be ready to regulate themselves.