While Facebook resists a ongoing public relations storm Made up of various interlocking crises, a number of public interest groups have launched a website asking Americans to help set the screws on the tech giant.
Well called CommentStopFacebook.Org, the website accuses FB’s algorithms of “hurting our children, undermining democracy in the United States and around the world, and exacerbating discrimination.” Supported by groups like Fight for the future, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and dozens of others, the site references many talking points recently made by Frances Haugen, a a former employee of FB who became a whistleblower which recently appeared on 60 Minutes and then before Congress to discuss how his former employer is hurting Americans—especially children.
So how do we all, uh, prevent this from happening? The groups suggest we are counting on Congress to pass a “real data privacy law,” a law that makes it “illegal for companies like Facebook and YouTube to collect the massive amount of data they need to power their algorithms. “. The website provides a sign-up sheet which gives visitors the opportunity to show their support for the initiative.
At first glance, a federal data protection law is a good idea and something that people have been talk for a while. However, such an endeavor is not exactly a straightforward process and certainly not without its risks. On the one hand, the main cheerleaders of a federal privacy law in recent years have been giant technology companies– the very entities that such a law would be supposed to regulate. Why? Privacy advocates argue that such a law would give companies the ability to do what they do best: armies of lobbyists on Washington to co-opt regulations and turn them in their favor.
Corn The Congress has essentially raised his hands and admitted that he was far too incompetent and corrupt to attempt something like basic data protections for the public. Thus, privacy legislation was ceded to states, where many legislatures have tried – and often failed– to tinker with their own regulations. The passage of California consumer privacy law, or CCPA, in 2018, seemed to be a sign of hope and provided a roadmap for other states, As Colorado and Virginia, Do the same thing. A state-led approach presents a much more complicated regulatory landscape for companies like Facebook to navigate, and leaves the door open to potentially more radical legislation—something good for consumers but bad for the tech industry.
Of course, a federal privacy law, if given real regulatory powers, could help ensure that companies like Facebook are properly restricted and cut off from their most harmful impulses. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that such a law will not come out on the other side of our very flawed legislative process because flawed and ineffective regulation, regulation that ultimately legitimizes bad business behavior rather than censoring it.