Tuesday, 21 November 2017 09:16

Ex-Facebook manager calls for curbs on social media giant

By

A former operations manager at Facebook says the social media giant has exhibited a lax attitude towards self-regulation in the past and needs to be regulated by an external entity.

Sandy Parakilas, who worked with the company's platforms team in 2011 and 2012, said in an op-ed in The New York Times that what he had seen internally was a company that prioritised data collection from its users over protecting them for abuse.

Facebook recently faced questioning from the US Congress about posts and ads on its platform that are suspected of influencing the outcome of the US presidential election in 2016.

In the wake of these hearings, Parakilas said, there was no point in lawmakers waiting for the organisation to regulate itself. "Because it won't," he wrote.

Given that Facebook's business model was based on collecting as much data about an individual as possible, there was no incentive to police the collection of that data, Parakilas said. The only time that the organisation checked itself was when there was negative press coverage or when regulators came into the picture.

"Facebook is free to do almost whatever it wants with your personal information, and has no reason to put safeguards in place," he wrote.

Recalling the time when Facebook offered popular social games like Farmville and Candy Crush, he said there were no protections for the data that passed through these games on Facebook to external developers. And there was no way to police misuse of this data.

The issue gained some mileage in the media, Parakilas pointed out, adding that the only way to stop this was for Facebook to threaten to cut off a developer's access.

"But when I was at Facebook, the typical reaction I recall looked like this: try to put any negative press coverage to bed as quickly as possible, with no sincere efforts to put safeguards in place or to identify and stop abusive developers. When I proposed a deeper audit of developers’ use of Facebook’s data, one executive asked me, 'Do you really want to see what you’ll find'?" he wrote.

"The message was clear: The company just wanted negative stories to stop. It didn’t really care how the data was used."

Given the reach that Facebook had it was urgent to put in place processes that made it accountable. What existed right now was "...a company that reaches most of the country every day and has the most detailed set of personal data ever assembled, but has no incentive to prevent abuse".

"Facebook needs to be regulated more tightly, or broken up so that no single entity controls all of its data. The company won’t protect us by itself, and nothing less than our democracy is at stake," Parakilas said.


Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

GRAND OPENING OF THE ITWIRE SHOP

The much awaited iTWire Shop is now open to our readers.

Visit the iTWire Shop, a leading destination for stylish accessories, gear & gadgets, lifestyle products and everyday portable office essentials, drones, zoom lenses for smartphones, software and online training.

PLUS Big Brands include: Apple, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sennheiser and many more.

Products available for any country.

We hope you enjoy and find value in the much anticipated iTWire Shop.

ENTER THE SHOP NOW!

INTRODUCING ITWIRE TV

iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the iTWire.com site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.

SEE WHAT'S ON ITWIRE TV NOW!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Sam Varghese

Web Analytics

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments