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Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are showing the way on taking responsibility

16 April 2018

A little-noticed segment of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimonies before USA lawmakers last week was that pertaining to the company's marketing tactic to enrol children. As per the filing, around $7.3 million was spent in providing security to the billionaire's home and during his travel while the company incurred a cost of $1.5 million for Zuckerberg's use of private jets for official trips. For being different, I salute Mr Zuckerberg.

Mr Zuckerberg testified before members of the US Senate and Congress after revelations that the political consulting firm UK-based Cambridge Analytica-a data mining firm used by the Donald Trump campaign in the last election-improperly harvested data of up to 87 million Facebook users. The incident wiped off billions from Zuckerberg's wealth while Facebook's stock prices slumped in a week.

"Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg confronted two days of flame broiling before USA government officials this week, following worries over how his organization manages individuals" information. "What Facebook did reflected some incompetence", said Brian Wieser, a senior analyst for Pivotal Research Group.

CCFC, along with a coalition of several organisations, complained to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on April 9 against Google and YouTube for violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. That means that these non-subscribers haven't a clue about what information Facebook has obtained about them. As was seeing co-workers deep-dive to discover whether their Facebook lives have been shared with Cambridge Analytica or other dementors buried within the recesses of the internet - in yet another reminder of how it's always the hidden dangers that feed on our pursuit of happiness.

When asked by the Financial Times if Facebook's board had discussed having him step down, Zuckerberg replied: "Not that I am aware of". Collecting and sharing data of its users is at the very core of FB's business, and anything that will restrict data usage will be opposed.

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The main reason Facebook denied so numerous data requests, according to Federal Police spokeswoman Lulzana Musliu, was that some acts that are deemed to be offenses in Switzerland are not so in the U.S., where Facebook is headquartered. She said she encourages Facebook users to start demanding more regulations.

She pointed out that the leak of Facebook user data to Cambridge Analytica was not connected to Facebook's advertising business. But in recent years, successful online companies that built their empires on free content supported by advertising have also been exploring pay models. Facebook's USA revenue from advertising is expected to jump 17% to $21 billion this year, the research firm says.

As the prospect of regulation looms, Facebook is fortunate to have a leader who knows the Capitol corridors so well, said Michael Useem, professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

I was in pursuit recently of a more tangible form of happiness - a new desk for my home office. Facebook brags to advertisers that it can provide "cross device" targeting, as it is called. "People are starting to become more aware of what is going on with the ways collected data can be misused".

That structure could on the one hand end up disadvantaging less affluent users while simultaneously allowing wealthier consumers - the ones advertisers might be most eager to court - to bypass ads altogether. Only a dramatic data diet can curb the worst downsides of Facebook.

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are showing the way on taking responsibility