Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg Testimony & Welcome to the Tipping Point…
In the ongoing saga of the Cambridge Analytica breach, I’ve been watching the American Senators grill Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, for about 7 hours and counting (watching Live now).
My observations are this:
- Zuckerberg has affirmed no less than 10 times and counting that it is third-party app developers who breached the data. So your Farmville, your Words With Friends, your Buzz Feed quizzes… those put you at risk. But you knew that and did it anyway, right?
- These Senators, for the most part, are largely obtuse about how Facebook works. At all. I cannot even go into how dense some of them are. They asked questions they clearly don’t even understand. This does not inspire me to think the American legislators are educated enough to even have this conversation with Zuckerberg.
- Zuckerberg is a PRIVATE business-owner and as a private business owner, who is not directly responsible for this breach but has without a doubt stepped up to take the heat. His platform IS so influential and has grown in scope beyond what any of us could imagine, that his private business has public responsibility. He is taking on this responsibility. But let’s not forget, it is a private business that we have consented to use and share data on. That is still on us!
- American regulators want both freedom of speech and restrictions on speech and this is complex and nearly impossible to fathom how to distinguish what is valid ‘freedom of speech’.
- Read that above and then also note, at least half of the Senators grilling Zuckerberg ask him questions, then talk over him or tell him the answer they want to hear. Literally.
- There are lots of ‘bots, sneaky advertisers who still leak through, fake accounts, and other problems with Facebook. Zuckerberg’s response is to build new Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools. This means, innovators must BUILD the tools necessary to catch up. The genie is out of the bottle and we cannot put it back in. Was it Zuckerberg’s job to anticipate this? No… I don’t think so. Again, he’s a private organization. But is it necessary, yes. We should be grateful Facebook is going to be held to account to lead this technology.
- Zuckerberg is NOT Data from Star Trek, but the memes are actually quite funny and the likeness is uncanny. (And apparently he goes by Zuckerman, Zuckerberger, and other names… these Senators cannot get his name right).
A Democratic Congressman from Vermont, Rep. Peter Welch called this foreseeable and takes on the obligation of his council and colleagues. And he has offered support to Facebook’s obligation to protect privacy. He makes sense. There are a few legislators who make sense. But not enough.
A Republican Congressman name Thom Till opened up his iPad and showed everyone where their privacy settings were and put some of the responsibility directly on us, as he should, and schooled his colleagues. Many who have indicated they don’t even have Facebook accounts (which explains why they don’t understand that Facebook generates revenue on ads or anything about Facebook).
And this worries me.
So this takes me back to one thing… what YOU do online is what matters most. We cannot control what an American government will or won’t do with legislation. We cannot control what Facebook does. We can control what we do.
This is the tipping point. This does NOT just affect Facebook. Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google, Yelp, etcetera and all apps that allow log in and access to location, interests and other data about you also will come into the fold of this conversation.
Zuckerberg is going to lead the way. He has to. And that is not a bad thing.
And while this Senate testimony is based in American-think, it affects us all.
As a consumer, rapid changes are unveiling (perhaps too late, but here we are):
- On Monday or Tuesday, you will have received a notification within your Facebook platform if you have had your data breached.
- Today, Facebook has announced immediate changes to the developer app.
The ability to set and lock down your privacy settings has always been available to you. Perhaps go check that out.
As an advertiser, our choices to target audiences will become more limited (as a consumer, this feels right):
- Custom audiences will change as of May 25. In Canada, we’ve had fewer targeting options (lower population, less data?) all along so the way I read it, there are not many impacts. Remarketing, local targeting (but not geofencing), and basic target marketing will still be available.
This is an ongoing discussion. I’m riveted to cPAC today watching the Zuckerberg testimony. Are you watching too?
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