Opinion: Zuckerberg not to blame for breach of user information
Freddie Wilhelm | Staff Writer
Last week, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg was called into congress to give a testimony on how he uses the private information of the millions of people who use Facebook.
As the internet grows at an increasingly exponential rate, we see large companies similar to Facebook — like Google, Amazon and Twitter — use their users’ personal information for advertising and recommendations in order to make their internet experience tailored to them. But now this is all coming back to bite one of the world’s largest entrepreneurs in the butt.
People will quite willingly give most of their non-important information to websites that are not even Facebook. Names, emails and phone numbers all are things that people on the internet will give out on a daily basis.
By looking up song lyrics, sifting through news articles and even liking a post from your friend from your browser, Google can create a profile for you and make generalizations like age, race, religion and where you live, despite the fact that you have probably already given them that information already.
This makes a gray line for what is morally right in terms of using personal information and selling them to advertisers. But as of now, this practice is perfectly legal, which is what lawmakers are trying to change, however, this may not come with the level of success that they are hoping for.
This should not be surprising to anyone. Websites with large internet traffic are using their resources to make as much money are possible, which is lauded by a free market economy. Low regulations on internet means more money that large industries like Facebook can make by selling information. Even your internet providers can sell your data to advertisers.
As of last year, congress and President Trump lifted many regulations previously made by the Federal Communications Commision (FCC). This was simply to ‘restrict regulations’ on internet providers and CEOs like Zuckerberg.
Facebook let their information sharing get out of hand without much transparency, which now could result in thousands of Russian operatives getting all of our internet information, however, I do not believe the finger should be pointed at Zuckerberg or any other internet CEOs. The reactionary response from our law and regulations makers should be the only one to blame for this violation of privacy for millions of Facebook users.
What can be said about Zuckerberg during his testimony is his incredible cooperation with congress and his continual apology for his breach of trust on the Facebook users. He now claims he has his team working on ways to stop data selling to advertisers who may use their ads to unfairly target officials and companies, which became a huge controversy after the 2016 election.
To protect the American consumer, congress needs to look into ways to fairly regulate the internet, such as blocking ads that slander other entities unfairly or just lie to their consumer. Another would be to act upon the regulations that are already in place, which is where the FCC fails to succeed. By holding them accountable, the internet consumer would already be much safer from companies selling personal information. Congress having Zuckerberg testify is a great start to step up the regulations on internet traffic. Hopefully, by the end of this year, we can browse an internet where it is safe to like a friend’s image without having thousands of advertising companies knowing about it.