Our US CEO Shane Green has been making waves across the pond with a bylined opinion column in the Washington Examiner (plus accompanying video) emphasising why we shouldn’t take Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘privacy pivot’ at face value.
The Facebook founder’s statement has come in for criticism because, while it was big on rhetoric, it posed no tangible reforms of his core business.
That is because the big data companies have no real interest in changing their policies. They will defend their business models, which make trillions of dollars by owning and exploiting personal data to manipulate people and sell advertising, to the hilt.
So why has Zuckerberg spoken out now? Because data reform is in the air in the US, and Facebook and the other behemoths are trying to water that down, risking any new regulation only having the appearance of accountability, rather than real teeth. There is also a danger that compliance will be made very expensive, which would price smaller competitors out of the market.
Facebook et al’s model of surveillance capitalism is clearly dead, but that hasn’t stopped them opposing state-level privacy laws, such as that recently enacted in California.
As Shane says: “It’s long past time for power over data to be put back in the hands of the users to whom it belongs. I hope that Congress uses that principle as their starting point and their end goal. We need real action, not empty Facebook posts.”