British Parliament decided to publish 250 pages of Mark Zuckerberg’s emails between other Facbeook higher ups. The information obtained from the emails, rather than the security breach itself, is raising questions on how the government should approach privacy concerns on social media sites. Zuckerberg, and therefore Facebook, is reportedly angry at the British Parliament for publishing the emails. The company is saying that the emails don’t reflect the entire story about what happened.
Data collection on Facebook has raised concern for quite some time. Zuckerberg is no stranger to dealing with the Government’s reaction to how the social networking site collects big data. Earlier this year, Zuckerberg testified before the US Congress for five hours (he even brought his own butt pillow) after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke just weeks before.
The scandal, which was originally outed by Christopher Wylie [https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/data-war-whistleblower-christopher-wylie-faceook-nix-bannon-trump], proved that a British digital agency was harvesting Facebook profiles to alter election data, influence voters and, ultimately, help sway elections. It even played a part in releasing Hillary’s iconic emails, among other things. Zuckerberg technically had no real role in the whole thing, but had to appear in front of Congress anyway to discuss how he thought regulations should be imposed, if at all.
During the meeting, Zuckerberg was questioned about things like whether or not he thought Facebook had obtained monopoly power. He was also asked whether or not Facebook was listening to our private conversations through the microphone in our phone to create better targeted ads. To that question he said no, but there must be a reason the Zuck tapes his webcam.
Shortly after that scandal, Zuckerberg was accused of using Facebook to weaponize data. A company in California sued the social network for alleging that it was behind a scheme. The company allegedly worked to access data from any users network of friends. Claims that Facebook is out there attempting to exploit user information for financial gain is nothing new. But now the British government is involved. Zuckerberg is currently being accused, based on the information obtained in the emails, of setting up secret deals with third-party apps to mine as much data as possible.
Facebook is being accused of giving unfair advantage to certain third-party apps and companies. It also, allegedly, used a third-party app to further mine user data to be sold for financial gain. It was also monitoring which apps were being installed on user’s devices. That way, the company could monitor potential apps to acquire as they grow in popularity in real time.
The whole situation poses the question: should there be government oversight and regulation regarding social networks? More specifically, should there be regulation regarding how social networks use our information?