Losing Face(book)? by Alma Anonas-Carpio

Last of two parts

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


As for Facebook, it has done as Zuckerberg said it would. Users who visit the social network’s Help Center will find this message: “We’re investigating all apps on our platform and conducting a full audit of any apps with suspicious activity. If we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we’ll ban them from Facebook. You can also edit the privacy and settings for your apps and games.”

“We need to do more to safeguard your privacy, so we’re taking action on potential past abuse and putting stronger protections in place to prevent future abuse of our platform,” the message on the Help Center webpage reads.

The actions include notifying users if an app misuses their data: “[I]f we remove an app for misusing data, we’ll tell everyone who used that app. We’re also building a way for you to see if your data might have been accessed through ‘thisisyourdigitallife,’ the app that sent data to Cambridge Analytica and violated our platform policies.”

The Facebook help center team also said they are going to show users a “tool at the top of your news feed” that will make it easier for users to choose what data they have permitted the apps they link to their Facebook accounts to use—right above the users’ News Feeds.

They will also turn off access for apps each user has not used within the last three months, as well as restrict login data so any apps users associate with their Facebook accounts will only have the user’s name, profile picture and email address, and so any other data data request an app may make will require the approval of Facebook. They have also announced that they are “pausing app approvals.”

Business Insider, meanwhile, reported that changes in “user privacy controls Facebook is implementing to comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe will roll out globally—but affirmative consent may be different by region.”

The think-tank said there are “two main facets of GDPR that Zuckerberg addressed in the hearing: offering privacy controls, and pushing affirmative consent for certain data. While the former will be pushed out globally, the latter may look different across the globe.

To address affirmative consent, Facebook plans to put a feature at the top of the News Feed that walks users through their settings and allows them to update data and privacy controls. However, the settings that users are walked through for affirmative consent may differ by region, and they’ll likely be most comprehensive for European Facebook users.

The think tank also noted that “Facebook didn’t rule out a subscription model to opt out of ads, but a paid version is unlikely to come to fruition.

The idea of offering a paid version of Facebook came up several times, and although Zuckerberg didn’t rule it out, he indicated the company will continue to push the free, ad-supported version.

It’s highly unlikely that a subscription model would be rolled out because Facebook would have to charge high fees to recoup that lost ad revenue, especially in the lucrative US and Canada markets.”

“One reason that so many people are worried about this incident is what it says about how Facebook works,” Business Insider reported. “The idea that for every person who decided to try an app, information about nearly 300 other people was scraped from your service is, to put it mildly, disturbing.”

“Facebook continues to deny it’s a media company, but agrees that it’s responsible for the content posted on its platform to a certain degree,” Business Insider reported. “In the past, Facebook has shied away from defining itself as a media company and curating editorial content. This means we’ll see Facebook take a more active role in determining the types of content that can be shared on the platform, especially when it comes to fake news and abusive content.

Facebook is doubling its security and content review team to 20,000 by the end of the year, and aggressively investing in artificial intelligence to combat these problems, which will significantly impact its profitability. Regardless, established digital publishers will continue to struggle with distribution as Facebook works out privacy and data kinks on the user side.”

That said, Business Insider also predicted that “Facebook will see little to no decline in US daily average users. Over three-quarters (77%) of Facebook’s US monthly active users access the app on a daily basis, and this daily habit of hundreds of millions of Americans will be a difficult one to break. While there will certainly be user backlash and ‘delete Facebook’ campaigns, we believe the net impact on Facebook’s daily active user count will be muted throughout the rest of 2018.”

“Brands aren’t going to significantly slow their ad spend on Facebook,” the think-tank noted. “While some advertisers may pause campaigns, we believe the impact on ad revenue growth in 2018 will be insignificant.

The targeting capabilities on Facebook will continue to provide brand advertisers with high ROI throughout 2018. After all, Facebook has, and will continue to have, robust data on its members, even if third parties have restricted access. It could even make the data inside Facebook’s walled garden more valuable to brands since they wouldn’t be able to access information collected through third-party developers.”

Telling the end-user to be more careful, that they have to take responsibility for the use, and misuse, of their personal data by third parties they don’t know from Adam is not right—especially in a world that is learning just how wrong it is to tell the survivor of a crime that it was their fault a crime was committed upon their person.

While it is wise for people to take precautions about their personal safety and data security, it is not right to require them to do these things without first turning your eyes to the environment in which these people move, physically or virtually.

Our inherent rights—to life, to free expression, to privacy, to liberty of domicile and movement among them—are inviolable.

Part and parcel of that inviolability is that we should be able to expect other people, the government, and businesses with which we interact to respect those rights without us having to ask them to do this, or demand that they do this. That is supposed to be the default setting, not the exception to the default.

When you have a data breach that covers 87 million users globally, in which 1.2 million users in the Philippines were affected, you have a situation that requires action from all the affected parties—including the users who were not affected by this breach, but may be affected by any breaches that follow.





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