Wednesday, June 06, 2018 by Vicki Batts
Facebook and its infamous CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, have been under fire for violating users’ privacy, censorship of conservative voices and a slew of other misdeeds — and now, it looks like the social media giant has been busted again. This time, a Democratic congressman says it looks like the Zuck lied to Congress.
The accusation comes after recent reports revealed that Facebook is sharing sizable quantities of user data with a number of other companies. Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, the leading Democrat on the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, called out Zuckerberg for his latest scam over Twitter on Sunday. “Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have ‘complete control’ over who sees our data on Facebook,” Cicilline’s tweet read.
“This needs to be investigated and the people responsible need to be held accountable,” the congressman continued.
A shock report published by The New York Times unveiled one of Facebook’s greatest scams: The social media network gave device makers access to all the “deep data” on Facebook users … and their friends. Despite assurances that users are in control of who sees what, it turns out that when it comes to Facebook, privacy is more of an illusion than a reality.
Back in April, Zuckerberg told Congress, “Every time that a person chooses to share something on Facebook, they’re proactively going to the service and choosing that they want to share a photo, write a message to someone.”
“And every time, there is a control right there — not buried in settings somewhere, but right there — when they’re … posting about who they want to share it with,” Zuckerberg reportedly contended.
But, it now appears (to no one’s surprise) that these assurances were little more than dust in the wind. Facebook had data sharing partnerships with “at least” 60 different device manufacturers — agreements which gave these companies access to a wide range of data that users most likely didn’t know about, and probably wouldn’t have agreed to.
According to Facebook, granting device makers this kind of access was essential to ensuring that users would get the “full Facebook experience.” Rebuking the Times report, vice president of product partnerships, Ime Archibong declared that it was “necessary” for Facebook to give device makers user data to get their products on the market.
In other words, Facebook sold out users’ privacy for their own gain. Who would have guessed?
In 2011, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) laid out a mandate regarding the issue of consent after Facebook was accused of misleading consumers about their privacy. In terms of that decree, Facebook is barred “from overriding users’ privacy settings without getting their consent.” But the latest data sharing scandal may open up a whole new can of worms for the social media behemoth.
Former FTC Commissioner Bill Kovacic told Vox, “It’s going to intensify the FTC’s efforts to scrutinize the company’s behavior and its fulfillment of the 2011 to 2012 settlement. This adds additional impetus to that existing commitment to study their behavior, to see if there was compliance.”
Facebook maintains that it “trusts” the device makers it chose to share user data with — but ultimately, was it Facebook’s place to share millions of people’s information with third-party companies without even asking for consent?
The social media company contends that the device makers signed agreements that would prevent them from using the collected data “for anything beyond its intended purposes,” and the company denies that it was ignoring privacy settings and the need for consent.
Clearly, these assurances are highly debatable. Between the mass censorship of independent media, conservative voices and “dissenting” thought, and the blatant disregard for their users, it’s hard to understand how Facebook stays in business. What will happen next in the Facebook saga? (Related: Stay up to date on the latest privacy invasions at Technocrats.news.)
Sources for this article include: