During high school, my closest friend and I often joked that our generation was the first to grow up without privacy. The joke wasn’t so much that she and I had grown up on Facebook but that our parent’s generation had grown up. Imagine a world without social media.
We were right: today’s teens are growing up with a different understanding of technology than previous generations. They expect that everything they do online is public knowledge because most adults their age have spent decades sharing photos on Facebook and Instagram.
But what does “public knowledge” even mean? How does this affect our perspective on regulation? Specifically, how does it impact marketers who want to target young consumers? Or their products?
Facebook is fine.
Facebook isn’t the problem, but it has created a situation where people feel more vulnerable than ever. The problem is that Facebook’s business model needs to be fixed, and its strategy needs to be revised.
The future of social media and privacy will be shaped by regulation and competition, not by tech companies. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) makes important progress for user privacy. The GDPR is a key milestone in regulating data protection and privacy and will impact how companies operate worldwide.
Facebook is a business.
It may come as a surprise to you, but Facebook is a business. It’s not a charity, it’s not a public utility, it’s not a democracy, and it’s not a government agency. It has no obligation to give you free stuff because you use its services–and I doubt that Facebook is responsible for meeting such a demand. It would only be possible to fulfill by charging users for their services or limiting access to those who can afford them.
Facebook is also not your friend; avoid falling into this trap! When people ask me for something, I reciprocate their requests as much as possible to ensure mutual satisfaction. This way, both parties feel like winners! If someone offers to help me, I politely decline and say, “No, I’m good. Thank you.”
Facebook’s business model needs to be fixed.
Facebook isn’t a charity. It’s a business, and it has a broken business model. It’s important to note that Facebook is not necessarily more unethical than other companies, and its business model is not the worst in the world. Every company has some broken part of its operation. Still, many other companies have found ways to make money without relying on advertising or data collection as heavily as Facebook does.
The problem is that Facebook needs the incentive to change its business model. It’s a monopoly, and it knows it. There are no real competitors in the space. If there were any competitors, they would have to begin from the beginning with minimal brand recognition and user data, which would put them at a significant disadvantage compared to Facebook.
Facebook’s strategy needs to be revised.
Facebook’s strategy is not to be a platform for the world but a platform for the world’s data. Facebook collects as much data as possible to sell to advertisers. It makes money from its users, who are not its customers; they’re just the raw material required for Facebook’s revenue model.
Google aims to provide users with a wide range of free services while selling advertising against the data it collects from them. If Google can’t get your attention with its search engine or email service, it will try to do so with Gmail ads. If you use an Android phone, Google collects data about where you go and what apps you use to sell targeted ads on Google Maps.
The future of social media and privacy will be shaped by regulation and competition, not by tech companies.
Regulation and competition will shape the future of social media and privacy. The rapid pace of change in this area makes it difficult for regulators to keep up, but they must nevertheless try.
Regulators should be more proactive about protecting consumers from harmful practices on the part of tech companies instead of waiting for those companies’ missteps to occur first (for example, Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal). And international cooperation among governments will also be essential when crafting effective rules around privacy issues in today’s interconnected world.
Facebook can be fixed, but it takes more than just changing the rules at the tech companies themselves – we have to change the practices for them too.
Facebook is a business. And like any other business, maximizing profits while minimizing costs is in the company’s best interest. That means that Facebook needs as many users as possible to sell ads to them–and those users need to be engaged with the platform enough not to get bored and leave it for another social media site.
The problem with this strategy is that it makes privacy an afterthought. To increase the usage of your product, it’s essential to prioritize engagement above all else, even if it means compromising privacy. Therefore, ensure that all aspects of your product are geared towards maximizing user engagement. This leads us down a rabbit hole where we end up with products built on back doors into our personal lives without solid protections against abuse from governments and private companies.
The problem with Facebook isn’t that it’s a technology company. The issue is that these companies have excessive power, and we must take caution in regulating them properly. The best way forward is through regulation alone, competition, and innovation. Check out our shop if you need more pictures or detailed descriptions of products.