The Mercury News published an editorial which criticizes Facebook and it’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg for a recent scandal relating to an app which collected usage data from teenagers.
The Mercury News published an article recently titled “Facebook, Zuckerberg’s Sins Now Include Preying on Teens,” which attacked social media giant Facebook over a recent scandal relating to an app developed by the company which targeted teenagers and monitored the data on their mobile devices.
The Mercury News said that Facebook should “know better” than to profit by “preying on” teenagers and children:
Since 2016, Facebook has been paying minors as young as 13 to download an app that tracks nearly everything they do on their phones. Taking a cue from tobacco companies, the Menlo Park-based social media company advertised the app on Snapchat and Instagram, where today’s teens routinely hang out.
The outrageous practice is as creepy as it is greedy. The notion that young teenagers can give informed consent is ludicrous, as any responsible parent or business leader knows.
As a parent with two children, CEO Mark Zuckerberg should know better than to profit by preying on children. The revelation destroys whatever remaining credibility he had on privacy issues.
The Mercury News points out that this isn’t the first time that Mark Zuckerberg has ignored general business ethics to benefit his company:
The fact that Facebook is willing to pay teens $20 a month for access to their private data — where they go, what web sites they visit and what they purchase — is another indicator of how much the company is profiting from consumers’ data.
This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has ignored basic business ethics standards.
Remember the 2011 Federal Trade Commission investigation that revealed Facebook had falsely promised customers that it would not share their data with advertisers? Or Facebook’s 2014 secret mood-manipulation scandal, in which the company altered 700,000 users’ news feeds to see if viewing more positive or negative posts would have an impact on their own posts? Or the revelation last year that Facebook was aware of a massive theft of users’ personal data but failed to tell the public?
The article concludes by calling for congressional action to provide some form of oversight for Silicon Valley tech firms:
Indeed, congressional action is overdue. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Santa Clara, has proposed an Internet bill of rights that’s a good starting point for legislative action.
At least California is taking action. The Legislature in 2018 passed what is regarded as the nation’s toughest online privacy law. It’s unclear whether the law’s “opt-in” requirement for children younger than 16 would prevent Facebook’s disgusting ploy. If it doesn’t, the Legislature has work to do.
The California law doesn’t take effect until 2020. In the meantime, consumers are having to rely on companies such as Apple to police Facebook. Apple blocked an internal Facebook app on iPhones and iPads for violating Apple’s policies.
Read the full article in the Mercury News here.