Privacy: Facebook Crash
While there may be several reasons for the decline in Facebook’s revenue which led to the sell-off of shares, one of the three primary factors for the decrease in projected profitability of Facebook is the focus on privacy and security. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has for many years disregarded the privacy of users and was once quoted as having said “We have no privacy, get over it”. For this reason long before it became fashionable to do so, I likened Zuckerberg to the robber barons in previous centuries who had no regard for individual rights if they were in conflict with making money.
Recently, through the Cambridge Analytica debacle and the clear intent of legislators around the world but particularly in Europe to curb Facebook’s criminal disregard for the rights of individuals, there has been a realisation that privacy is a critically important issue in our 21st century information society.
We can only hope that our leaders in both the public and the private sector take notice of the fact that even a company of the magnitude of Facebook is not immune to public opinion and eventually will be penalised if it breaks the law. Government must do a lot more to ensure that our legal and business framework takes proper cognizance of this global issue. So too must business recognise that the short term gains of exploiting personal information for financial gain aside from being a direct contravention of the constitutional right of privacy, are simply not sustainable.
©Mark Heyink 2018