Another day, another data scandal with Facebook. Lawmakers in both the UK and the US are digging into Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, investigating how data analytics company Cambridge Analytica acquired and “exploited” personal identifiable data of over 50 million Facebook users. Meanwhile, Facebook is scrambling to avoid loss of users in the light of a 7 percent stock drop
Here are the five things Facebook needs to do right now in order to survive their biggest scandal to date.
1. Set an example with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
The Cambridge Analytica scandal is going to accelerate lawmakers attempts to impose bigger regulations on tech companies, and by getting ahead of the curve, Facebook can help map out what those regulations might be, which is a much better alternative to getting blindsided by unwanted sanctions.
In any case, GDPR will significantly restrict what Facebook can do with the personal data of European data subjects, especially without their explicit (and granular) consent.
2. Make third-party opt-outs CLEAR
Facebook needs to clearly communicate to users how to opt-in or opt-out of the sharing of personal data to third-party vendors. Currently, this option is buried deep within user settings. This does prevent users from logging in to outside sites like Twitter and Instagram (and Tinder) from their Facebook login, but the level of data security far outweighs the inconvenience of having to remember an app password. Until then…
3. Build bigger walls of protection between third-parties
Cambridge Analytica had access to over 50 million users’ data because Facebook users willingly gave access via a personality quiz. Pretty much anybody can build a quiz, share it on Facebook, and then harvest the data acquired through the quiz answers. In every sense of the word, this practice is just invasive. With all that engineer power Facebook possesses, they need to put a system in place that prevents quiz and app builders from gaining access to user pages
4. Own up to being a publisher
From which follows, of course, owning up to being a publisher. Sure, it’s cool to pretend you’re a software company, an AdTech agency, a mere neutral conduit for whatever the people want to say. Get real. Facebook, alongside Google, is a major content publisher. It threatens to put other content publishers out of business. Publishers fall over each other to get their content uploaded to Facebook and shared by its vast audience.
5. Come out in open!
Zuckerberg needs to come out and face the people face to face, because whatever he does he always sends Sheryl Sandberg to clean up his mess. As CEO, he should act like one.