Mark Zuckerberg has a lot to answer for, given that the private company Cambridge Analytica utilized the data of 50 million American Facebook users.
This violation of privacy rights by a social media organization confirms that all social media organizations should be regulated on a global basis. Not only in Canada, the U.S. or the European Union, but right across the world, thereby making them accountable for their actions.
They have to be monitored more closely and not left to their own devices.
Moreover, I expect Zuckerberg and Cambridge Analytica to be the subject of class-action lawsuits for their callous, inexcusable and reprehensible conduct. Zuckerberg can try to distance himself from the data breach, but he is directly responsible for all the operations of his company.
This isn’t the first fiasco that Zuckerberg and Facebook have had to deal with. Last year, Steve Stephens in the U.S. Posted on Facebook video of a murder he committed.
Zuckerberg tried to distance Facebook from that horrific event and he made pronouncements that more staff would be hired to screen the content posted on their social media site.
But incidents like these should demonstrate to governments world-wide about the need for strict regulation and oversight of all social media.
Such regulation and oversight could reduce, but not eliminate, the worst excesses like privacy breaches and graphic content display from occurring.
Yes, there would be cries against such a move that it violates freedom of speech. But when a social media company allows blatant misconduct, whether deliberately or otherwise, then it forfeits its independence and the right to regulate itself.
Certain political forces have long called for greater control of transnational corporations, especially in regards to avoiding taxation. They have called for international laws to clamp down on these corporations.
Those political forces also insist that transnational corporations have to be more closely scrutinized and held accountable for their actions.
Fine, if that’s what they want, then I call for the same measures to be applied to social media organizations like Facebook, and businesses like Cambridge Analytica have to be subject to consequences as well.
Not only should there be international laws, there should be oversight and penalization to ensure they don’t escape justice for their actions.
I am mindful of the positive aspects of social media. As in the attempts to effect political change in countries like Iran, for example, where women’s rights and freedom of speech and thought run up against resistance from hard-line governments wanting to maintain control over their citizens.
Social media also helps to bring humanitarian causes in Third World countries to the fore, especially where famine and genocide are concerned. That’s where social media has an important role to play in everyday life.
Nonetheless, social media fiascoes like the one Zuckerberg and Cambridge Analytica get caught up in require global oversight and accountability. Case closed.