This week Facebook’s whistleblower released thousands of pages of confidential information about the company’s divisive practices. Ironically, in the same week the scandal was revealed, Massachusetts started debating a comprehensive data privacy law that could counteract many of the dangerous business practices of companies like Facebook.
“Whistle-Blower Says Facebook ‘Chooses Profits Over Safety,’” The New York Times- October 4th, 2021
As we have seen in other industries such as tobacco, the impact of whistleblowers cannot be overstated. Facebook’s whistleblower, Frances Haugen made statements validated by thousands of pages of company documents. These documents paint Facebook as a company completely focused on profit without regard to the well-being of its users. Facebook needs to begin to put the public’s interests, which includes protecting users’ privacy ahead of the company’s agenda.
“Massachusetts has a chance to clean up our national privacy disaster,” MSN- October 7th, 2021
Massachusetts is aiming to pass the “most revolutionary” data privacy legislation in the United States. In addition to regulating the collection and use of personal data and browsing history, the law would also protect its citizens from constant surveillance, an even more pernicious intrusion of privacy. All of us in the data privacy movement should have our fingers crossed that this bill is passed.
The revelations realized from the Facebook scandal have only exacerbated concerns over our children’s safety when using apps like Instagram. Simply stated, in the wild-west of social media, parenting has become even more challenging. On an optimistic side, more companies are realizing that looking out for their customers and their privacy is good business.
“Instagram and teens: How to keep your kids safe,” Associated Press- October 6th, 2021
Following Facebook’s whistleblower testimony, the danger posed to teenagers active on Instagram is not a surprise to many parents. Problems such as bullying and addictive use of the app can become learned behaviors impacting teenagers for the rest of their lives. Combatting these issues takes old-fashioned parental elbow grease: constant discussions with children, setting limits, and monitoring content are among the important defenses against the harmful impact of apps such as Instagram.
“Why Data Privacy Is Good For Business: Online Privacy As A Branding Imperative,” Forbes- October 7th, 2021
While regulations are beginning to require changes in privacy policies, the “belief” that new data privacy protocols are good business is encouraging. As organizations welcome privacy revisions into all areas of their business including messaging, recruiting, and compliance, the result will be a stronger brand with a growing number of loyal consumers.