But what’s really scary is that it didn’t have to hack into anything to get it. Facebook was designed to collect all that info and handed it over without policing how it was being used.
.. But Facebook isn’t like other products you boycott.
.. We don’t buy products from Facebook — we are its product. We’ve given it our information for free. And in North America, we were each worth $26.76 to Facebook in the fourth quarter of 2017.
.. Facebook became America’s fifth most-valuable public company (worth about $490 billion as of Wednesday) by selling advertisers highly targeted access to us. It takes data about what we and our friends do and then combines that with data from other places to make all sorts of inferences about us.
.. Even if you don’t like Facebook, you might still need it to stay in touch with your mom, your second cousin or even your boss. They’d have to quit, also — and all their friends, too. Many people rely on Facebook to sign in to other websites, dating services and other apps.
.. There aren’t great alternatives, either. Several of the most popular other social apps in the United States — Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp — are also owned by Facebook. People peeved at Facebook’s data practices have tried making new services, but none took off.
.. Aside from a dramatic change of heart from founder Mark Zuckerberg, getting Facebook to reform what data it collects and how it uses it requires destabilizing its business. And that boils down to this: Making Facebook an unreliable or expensive way for marketers to reach us.
“The only way the boycott will be effective is if it creates enough reputational damage that regulation becomes a reasonable option or if advertisers leave en masse,”
.. . But turning that into laws is a long, slow process. Not even last year’s massive Equifax hack got lawmakers to act.
.. The world will soon get one kind of control from the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which requires more transparency from companies about the data they collect and how they use it.
Federal Trade Commission may also step in and fine Facebook. It happened to have an agreement in place with Facebook from 2011 that holds the social network accountable for incidents where its data gets shared without members’ explicit consent.
.. argument is that policing data is more than just a Facebook problem, so we need an independent agency (beyond the FTC) to deal with it.