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Sheryl Sandberg, the second in command at Facebook, said this week that users of the social media network who want their personal information to remain private better be ready to fork over some cash.
“We have different forms of opt-out,” she said during an appearance Friday on NBC’s “Today.” “We don’t have an opt out at the highest level. That would be a paid product.”
She meant that Facebook users currently reserve the right to protect only some of their private information. For all of their information to be protected, users would have to basically pay to use Facebook.
Why? Reports suggest Facebook earns a profit by selling their users’ data to advertisers. To be clear, both the media and the public have been aware of this for years.
“The average Facebook user now generates $12.76 in advertising revenue every year,” The Guardian reported three years ago. “That figure is expected to rise still further, to $17.50 in 2017.”
Facebook earned an astonishing $4.7 billion in profit during the third quarter of 2017 alone, as reported by TechCrunch.
The social media network’s use of personal data only recently became an issue after a report emerged that Facebook had allowed a data analytics company affiliated with President Donald Trump to allegedly misuse its users’ data.
Keep in mind former President Barack Obama’s 2012 election campaign also benefited from access to Facebook’s user data. For some inexplicable reason, however, what Facebook does with its users’ information has only now become an issue.
That said, even some conservatives admit that Facebook could have done a better job informing its users of what it does with their data.
“The mitigating factor is that this data is voluntarily given to Facebook by its users, who should have known the purpose of its use by the platform, but Facebook should have been a lot more forthcoming about that too,” argues Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.
What many on both the right and left find equally bothersome is the network’s newfound refusal to allow their users to completely opt out. Not to mention Sandberg’s dubious reasons for maintaining this policy.
She argued on “Today” that access to users’ data lets Facebook tailor their experiences by, for example, letting their friends see their music playlist.
“There’s the good cases for sharing, and I think we were very idealistic and not rigorous enough,” she said.
To make matters worse, she admitted Friday that it’s “possible” more data scandals may pop up in the near future.
While making a profit certainly matters, both Sandberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should keep in mind that if they keep stubbornly ignoring their users’ demands, it’s very possible their profit may one day soon plummet to zip zero.
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