Amnesty International has attacked the business models of Facebook and Google, describing them as “surveillance-based,” and claiming the Masters of the Universe “threaten human rights.”
Business Insider reports that human rights organization Amnesty International has attacked Google and Facebook in a recent report, claiming that the two firms’ business models “threaten human rights.” Amnesty described Google and Facebook’s ad-based business models in the report as “surveillance-based” and stated that the “mass harvesting and monetization of data – primarily for the purpose of advertising – has meant that surveillance has become the ‘business model of the internet’.”
Facebook commented on the report stating that it disagrees with Amnesty’s findings, while Google has yet to comment on the report. Amnesty claims that the tech firms’ business models, which rely heavily on collecting vast amounts of data from users in order to target ads towards them, threatens users’ right to privacy, as well as freedom of expression and freedom of thought.
Amnesty noted in its report:
- The fact that Facebook and Google run continuous analysis and accumulation of information about people, and argued that this is surveillance.
- Facebook and Google don’t charge for their services but rely on people effectively handing over their data as a hidden kind of payment.
- The two firms are able to collect a wealth of highly detailed data, meaning they can reasonably be claimed to know more about individuals than the individuals do about themselves.
- The two firms are able to analyze and predict people’s habits and behaviors.
The report further claims that the companies’ power prevents them from being held accountable by governments and regulators. A Facebook spokesperson commented on the report stating: “We fundamentally disagree with Amnesty International’s report. Facebook enables people all over the world to connect in ways that protect privacy, including in less developed countries through tools like Free Basics. Our business model is how groups like Amnesty International – who currently run ads on Facebook – reach supporters, raise money, and advance their mission.”