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Facebook's 5 Billion Settlement Won't Make It Care More About User Data

July 31, 2019 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated May 12, 2020 19:57 PM UTC

So what will?

[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to fortune tech debate where we discuss the issues of the day in two minutes. Today, we're talking about Facebook and what it will take to make them take user data seriously. So the FTC recently came to a settlement with Facebook for $5 billion. Sounds like a lot, and it is a lot of money. But for Facebook, it ended up being more of a slap on the wrist. What's it going to take for them to take this issue seriously finally? Yeah, they get a $5 billion fine, and then their stock went up. There was, sort of, universal dismissal that this is not a real enforcement action. And the FTC chief said, we need better rules. We're just an enforcement body. We can't make the rules. So it comes back to we need legislation and regulation that provide specific guidelines for Facebook and other data handlers to know what they're supposed to do. I don't think that's the thing that's missing from Facebook, but anyway that's what is going to fix this. I agree with you in theory. Regulation sounds great, something that will really hold them accountable. But as we saw in their hearing with Mark Zuckerberg, they really don't know what they're talking about. They just had no concept of not just how Facebook worked, but Twitter, just social media and the internet in general. I don't really have faith that Congress will be able to put laws on the books that are more than symbolic and actually make a meaningful difference. Well, symbolic would be a start, but I will say-- I think that they've-- I hope that they've come some distance since the infamous we sell ads senator hearing. But second, there's a lot of bipartisan shared skepticism of Facebook, and I think that Democrats Republicans for different reasons they don't trust the company. And they think-- they, sort of, see the systemic problem. So I have some faith that there could be some healing around-- maybe Facebook is what we need to bridge the partisan divide in this country is our shared skepticism. I have more faith in that Facebook will start to care when it affects their bottom line. If users start going, because that's-- they make money selling ads, but they sell ads based on users. Users are gone, they don't make money. And once people start realizing that Instagram and Whatsapp are also part of it, they'll leave it like they're already starting to with Facebook. And that will get their attention for sure. Well, that's all the time we have for today. Come to for more tech debate. [MUSIC PLAYING]