Few things in this world can bring politicians together: war, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and now, privacy concerns. Despite being fined and cautioned by several government agencies, Facebook continues to provide lip service to lawmakers and the media while flaunting features that not only increase privacy concerns but continue to dehumanize the once “social” platform.
Earlier this week, COO Sheryl Sandberg met with concerned politicians while CEO Mark Zuckerberg penned an op-ed in The Washington Post. Both executives had the same message: software platforms, in general, should face more federal regulations around election integrity, harmful content, privacy, and data portability.
But does Facebook even care?
Since agreeing to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settlement of somewhere between of between $3 billion to $5 billion earlier this month, the company has not specifically said what tangible actions it is taking to protect user’s privacy, instead giving vague answers while rolling out new features for advertisers, adding 3-D photo features, increasing Marketplace content, and refusing to allow users to take control of their own timelines by allowing a chronological feature sort on the mobile app. The company has also come under fire for arbitrary and inconsistent censorship.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, criticized the FTC’s investigation of Facebook, saying it’s time for the agency to learn from “a history of broken and under-enforced consent orders and arguing that such a low fine was little more than a slap on the wrist for Facebook.
Despite being the largest social media platform in the world, the social media giant should heed the advice from other “giants” of years past (Enron, Lehman Brothers, MySpace) and begin to take the concerns of its users and lawmakers very seriously. Users can simply log off, but politicians and lawmakers pull the plug for good.