mark zuckerberg

There’s been a lot of controversy over the last couple of years, about the way Facebook has handled user data. And now, at least six state attorneys general are launching their own investigations into the company. These states seem to be merging into two groups. The first group includes Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Illinois and are looking at “existing allegations”. What those are, we don’t know at this time. However, the other states – New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, are looking into “unknown violations”. Again, something that we don’t necessarily have a definition for. But I think we could take a swing at this one, couldn’t we?

An existing allegation, would be something that Facebook is already under fire about. Something that is unknown, are, as you guessed it – not known. I can’t speculate as to what those allegations would be because they aren’t known – by me or anyone. But given the amount of issues that have been plaguing Facebook over the last few years, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there are more that we haven’t heard about.

Facebook’s vice president of public policy, Will Castleberry gave the news quite the positive spin. Indicating that these attorney generals are just wanting to help Facebook out by giving them new ways to protect data privacy. But do we really buy that?

“We’re having productive conversations with attorneys general on this important topic. Many officials have approached us in a constructive manner, focused on solutions that ensure all companies are protecting people’s information, and we look forward to continuing to work with them.” 

Will Castleberry, Vice President Public Policy, Facebook

I would honestly like to believe that Will Castleberry is right. Nothing would make me happier than to learn that Facebook is getting (and taking) advice from legal authorities like attorney generals, but I’m not really convinced that is the case.

States attorneys are often involved in investigations that involve corporate misconduct and even team up with each other when the inquiries are national in scope. Sometimes, they even involve the Department of Justice. Meaning, this might not be good for Facebook as they’ve faced numerous controversies over how they’ve handled user data and even their business practices over the last few years.

What’ s next? Facebook is already facing an investigation into whether or not they misled users, investors, and even federal officials about their dealings with Cambridge Analytica. That investigation is reported to involve the Department of Justice, FBI, Securities and Exchange Commission and even the Federal Trade Commission. With the FTC’s involvement, it indicates that they could be thinking about fining Facebook. Because Facebook has deep pockets, the sky is the limit in that regard, isn’t it? (Also – think about how much money the government could make if it started fining tech companies for misconduct?)

Mark Zuckerberg is still insistent on going down with his ship. I mean, that’s only what good captains do. He believes that people have stopped trusting the company, not because of everything that has been mentioned in this post, but rather because people are “distrustful of systems [they] don’t understand”. What’s not to understand about Facebook? If Facebook was the Facebook of 2007 or 2008, then sure, I could definitely support what he is saying. But in 2019, there are so many companies that have their fingers into the platform, it’s anybody’s guess who has access to what information. And that is what is causing people to not trust Facebook.

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