Regulating Facebook top global challenge
Siva Vaidhyanathan/ Gulf News
Consider all the ways that governments are proposing to rein in Facebook. The gamut runs from regulatory fines to threats to dismantle the behemoth. Some of these measures are counterproductive. Regulators are trying to address Facebook as if it’s like companies they have encountered before. But Facebook presents radically new challenges. It is unlike anything else in human history — with the possible exception of Google.The problems Facebook causes or amplifies — data dumps, privacy violations, the proliferation of hate speech or other nonsense — are not glitches. They are not examples of Facebook failing. They are examples of Facebook working as designed.Facebook does three things. It collects records of our activities, proclivities, locations, and associations. It uses those data to position advertisements that have proven more effective yet less expensive than in any other medium. And it uses those data to choose for us what we shall see, read, and with whom we should interact through its system. Its algorithms structure our social lives so subtly we hardly notice. It influences what we consider true, important, and valuable in powerful ways we are only now starting to realise.
Overall, Facebook undermines our ability to communicate on our own terms, to deliberate about public issues in a sober and informed fashion, and to build trust among citizens. The macro effect is so much more dangerous than any particular abrogation of user trust or violation of privacy law.Facebook is such a powerful and pervasive global system that confronting it demands radical new thought. It reaches more than 2.3 billion people, and that means more than 2.3 billion people regularly post videos, photos, and text to Facebook.