Was Zuckerburg’s About-Face Effective?


Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerburg answered questions for two days ranging from personal privacy to data security issues (Courtesy of Facebook).

By Faustino Galante

Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerburg answered questions for two days ranging from personal privacy to data security issues (Courtesy of Facebook).

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent his Tuesday and Wednesday on Capitol Hill. The 33-year old billionaire was asked to testify before congress amid public outrage in regards to recent issues involving his social media platform.
Facebook has received heavy criticism lately for its failure to adequately clear “fake news” from the newsfeeds of its users. The website’s reputation was further tarnished after reports surfaced that the private information of 87 million of its users was wrongly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm known for participating in data mining.
This information was allegedly shared during the 2016 United States presidential election. It is important to note that Cambridge Analytica worked for President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Fortunately, Facebook’s sketchy antics have not gone unnoticed. The accusations against the company are no joking matter. Congress made this clear by questioning Zuckerberg for several hours Tuesday and Wednesday.

Despite receiving unending bipartisan disapproval last week, Facebook has not done much to solve their various and significant issues. Instead of simply reprimanding Zuckerberg for his website’s slipups, the federal government must ensure that Facebook will make adequate changes in order to improve its security and overall content.

To help the company “clean up its act,” Congress must punish Facebook for taking advantage of helpless users and must force the website to take steps to circulate more credible information.

The most pressing allegation against Facebook is that it has routinely violated a 2011 “consent decree” with the Federal Trade Commission. This decree was established after the FTC went after Zuckerberg for having, “deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public.”

Essentially, the settlement stated that Facebook would no longer make deceptive privacy claims and that it would give its users “clear and prominent notice” before sharing their information. It is obvious that Zuckerberg failed to obey the stipulations of this specific 2011 settlement.

The government gave Facebook a second chance in 2011. Unfortunately, Mark Zuckerberg took it for granted. The federal government must stop appeasing Facebook’s CEO and will force it to make appropriate changes regarding the sharing of its users’ data.

Facebook must understand that maintaining a degree of ethicality is essential. The website should work to cater more towards its customers and must notify them about whether their personal data is indeed safe or not.

It is misleading and unfair to tell a Facebook user that their information is “private” when it is shared to various companies, such as advertisers, on a daily basis.
As aforementioned, Facebook has not only seen issues regarding the privacy of its users, but has also been disparaged for failing to weed out fake and often polarizing news stories. The phrase “fake news” has become a hallmark in modern day America. Facebook is one of the main means by which Americans keep up with current events. The website, however, is riddled with fabricated news stories created by shady organizations.

Facebook cannot deny it suffers a content issue. Mark Zuckerberg should acknowledge the fact that “fake news” is rampant on the social media platform and should do all he can to expel it.

This could be done by limiting the amount of automated accounts on the platform and by taking various measures to ensure that the major political accounts on the site are credible.

The fact that the Russian government allegedly used Facebook to interfere with the 2016 Presidential elections is alarming. Facebook must better protect itself and its users from having to deal with the devious publishing of fictitious information.

Facebook must be penalized for its recent actions (or lack thereof). While many argue that limiting Facebook may infringe on first amendment rights, individuals must keep in mind how powerful Facebook is and how great of an influence it has over various users worldwide.

Congress must find a way to punish Mark Zuckerberg and hold him accountable for his mistakes. It is imperative that we stop appeasing this morally lackadaisical company.