One step forward, two steps back for Facebook
The New York Times reported Sunday that Facebook has partnerships with phone manufacturers like Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung that allow the companies to access user data. This includes information about education, work history, relationship status, political views, and religion.
Phone manufacturers can then use this information to best tailor their phones to consumers. And while this doesn’t seem particularly unethical, it is just another example of Facebook users’ lack of privacy.
Nonetheless, Facebook defended its reputation against the report. The social media giant claimed that the partnerships were valid, but they only shared information that would allow the manufacturers to make Facebook run more efficiently on their phones. Ime Archibong, Facebook’s VP of product partnerships, had this to say about the investigation:
These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences…We are not aware of any abuse by these companies.
Even if the company’s claims are true, Zuckerberg and his team cannot afford this additional PR blow. After the drama surrounding Cambridge Analytica and Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of Congress, this seems to be two steps back for the social media mogul. Although he claimed that the company would make changes to ensure the safety of users’ data, it seems this is not the case.
However, Facebook is definitely trying. They recently rolled out a new process for political ads, where submitters have to apply to place their ad on Facebook using their social security number and documentation of citizenship. This will curb any political scandals similar to the 2016 Election.
Facebook needs to make more meticulous changes to its policy quickly if it hopes to avoid this public relations nightmare and restore shareholders’ hope in the company.
Featured image via Pixabay/TheDigitalArtist