I have been warning about Facebook and Social Media for quite some time.
Recently I penned an article entitled Social Media and Cell Phone Companies Face a Backlash from Users and the Government. Today Facebook reached a tipping point when news came out regarding Cambridge Analytics abuse of Facebook data in the Trump Presidential campaign. – http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/19/technology/business/facebook-data-privacy-crisis/index.html – Today, Facebook stock is getting hammered down as the logjam of bad news has finally broken. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
How can a 30 year old Kid be responsible for National Security and Internet abuses?
1 – For God’s sake, Mark Zuckerberg is just a child. He came up with an idea for a social network when he was a college student working in his dorm room. His idea caught fire and suddenly he was a young billionaire who did not know how to run a business. So he went to a grown up, Roger McNamee for advice. Roger told him how to go public and who to hire to run his business. So Mark listened and brought Sheryl Sandberg on. Facebook’s business then started to explode and the entire planet was hooked. But Roger saw something was wrong so Mark stopped taking Roger’s phone calls.
2 – It’s not just friends and family on Facebook. Facebook’s business model is profitable because it makes money by performing nefarious data mining tasks that invade our personal lives. That data is used in order for Facebook to invade our privacy and sell advertising and data to other companies.
3 – Facebook’s use of the First Amendment is self-serving. Every sleazy business, spammer, computer hacker, advertiser, computer Bot, mind hacker, and hostile nation is using Facebook to screw with our minds, our personal information and our country.
4 – Zuckerberg’s only allegiance is to Facebook shareholders – Not to America or Facebook users. That leads to the following dilemma: How can a company serve the conflicting interests of both society and its shareholders?
As of this moment Facebook’s billionaire child has acted like a deer in the headlights. He is facing an enormously complicated problem that grows bigger every day. He knows that he cannot possibly handle the problem, but he cannot fathom how to cope with it.
Where is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)?
“The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.”
1 – Net Neutrality – Facebook falls under the prevue of the FCC, but the FCC does not know what it is doing regarding the internet. First the FCC took a laissez faire approach towards Facebook and Google by establishing an absurd standard called “Net Neutrality” towards them. – http://fortune.com/2017/07/07/net-neutrality-google/ – “Net neutrality is the principle that governments should mandate internet service providers data on the internet the same and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality – Huh? Were they telling us that Russian election meddlers and all kinds of disgusting thieves, bits and hackers are treated just like you and I?
2 – Repeal of Net Neutrality – Recently the FCC reversed its stand and repealed Net Neutrality – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/02/22/the-fccs-net-neutrality-rules-will-die-on-april-23-heres-what-happens-now/ – Huh? Now what?
Where are the President and Congress?
1 – Congress oversees the FCC and the President can propose legislation or veto a Congressional vote. A Congressional oversight committee is supposedly at work on this and there is talk about a vote to repeal the repeal of Net Neutrality. There is also talk of the President vetoing (repealing? – I couldn’t resist) the repeal of the repeal of Net Neutrality.
2 – Today’s problems are way beyond Net Neutrality – The repeal of the repeal does not make it clear who are the good guys and bad guys and what to do about them. As far as I can tell Net Neutrality is not the issue. It is a canard in so far as the internet is concerned. So I am lost. I challenge anyone to tell me in simple terms what the heck is going on? What does all of this legal mumbo jumbo have to do with the specific abuses that occur every day on Facebook? And I have a law degree.
3 – Lawyers and lobbyists are fighting for Facebook and Google. But they do not care about society.
Facebook and Google are International Problems
Every nation has its version of the FCC or government regulators. Some nations like China do not mess around and block any shenanigans. The European Union is “studying” this issue. In general, it’s safe to say that unless you live in a dictatorship, you are living in a society that has no solutions. And if you live in a dictatorship you have no First Amendment rights- A fine mess.
Summary – Facebook is a Public Utility
1 – In general, I am pro-business and anti-regulation. But this issue is bigger than just business. Facebook is a public Utility that needs regulation. The Congress and FCC are not responsive to what is going on.
2 – Facebook and social media need a blue ribbon bi partisan Presidential commission to study and recommend speedy legislation for this complex issue. In my view, someone should give the President a wake him up call related to this issue.
3 – Like everyone else, I am pro First amendment. But the First Amendment does not give one the right to yell “Fire” in a movie theater. There are numerous restrictions on freedom of speech. Russian use of Facebook to play election games can be blocked. Putin’s phony proxies saying “Nyet Hillary” or “Nyet Donald” are not protected by the First amendment. And Mark Zuckerberg is not the person who should be in charge regulating his public utility.