Turn on your television to any cable network and you may just see an ad from the good people at Facebook. If you’ve ever used Facebook before -- which, in 2018, may very well just mean you’ve been conscious sometime within the last ten years -- hopefully you’ll see the irony. The very company that sold our information and possibly assisted Russia in this last election is trying to manipulate its way back into our hearts. So what the heck is up with Zuck? (Please note the PG vocabulary is intentional and not simply a missed rhyming opportunity).
For starters, all signs as of now point towards that fact that the very controversial Congressional hearing was just the beginning of Facebook’s trials and tribulations. Literally. See, Mark Zuckerberg has been making promises. And a lot of them. In several instances of his questioning, he was unable to adequately respond, instead claiming his team will “follow up.” If you, like myself, worry about the negligence of multi-billion dollar CEOs, look no further. Here’s some of the big points our friend Zuck has assured us he, or rather his team of underlings ankle-deep in quicksand, will get right on.
Representative Leonard Lace demanded input on the BROWSER Act. The BROWSER Act essentially states that consumers have a say in whether their sensitive information gets sold to social media outlets, search engines, and even web browsing history to advertisers. Representative Steve Scalise questioned whether Facebook uses data collected from logged off users purely for security reasons (try not to laugh!) or if that also encompassses their “business model” too.
Senator Cory Gardner wanted clarification on how exactly Facebook wipes data when deleting an account. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse asked if Aleksander Kogan (the man, the myth, the legend, and recently bankrupt person) who sold millions of Facebook user’s data to Cambridge Analytica, still had a personal Facebook account. The Cambridge Analytica leak actually occured in 2015 but Facebook didn’t break their silence until getting caught. It should be stated Cambridge Analytica must also be held responsible, and that the company is Trump-affiliated. Saving my personal favorite for last, New Jersey Democrat Representative Frank Pallone wanted to know why Zuckerberg couldn’t, in one word, answer if Facebook would “chang[e] all user default settings to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the collection and use of users' data.” That one seems pretty clear-cut, no?
So, what does this mean for the over one billion active Facebook users? Well, it’s underwhelming. Until Zuckerberg actually follows through on these “follow ups” how can anyone feel secure using Facebook? Nice try with the puppy videos and birthday cheers in the ads, Zuck, but it’s going to take more than Mad Men 101 manipulation skills to divert the people’s attention from what’s going on behind the screen.