By: +David Herron; Date: April 6, 2018
Facebook may need to come under government regulation. Facebook's COO claimed in a TV interview that the company has an advertising-driven model just like Radio and Television, both of whom are regulated by Governments. She also said that what Facebook is selling is access to people, but that's not for sale, which causes a big "HUH"? Any owner/operator of a Facebook page knows that over the last year or so Facebook has diminished the organic growth potential of Facebook Page postings. Such postings previously showed up organically in the newsfeed of folks following the pages, today that doesn't happen organically (very much). Instead, Page owner/operators are constantly barraged with please to spend money on advertising, in other words Facebook begs page owners to buy access to Facebook's users.
Facebook is coming under scrutiny over data privacy safeguards. As we noted the other day, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said clearly that Facebook does not sell user data. While that is technically true, Facebook makes a ton of money by offering services that are derived from the user data collected by Facebook.
What Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said is flatly wrong on its face. Facebook has collected a huge audience of folks who are gladly using the service to communicate with friends. Facebook's business model is to not charge anything to the regular users of the network, and so technically she is correct saying Facebook does not sell access to its users.
But -- what Facebook does is collect data on its users, compiling personality profiles, demographic profiles, and all kinds of other information that advertisers want to use for targeting. On the one hand Facebook has developed a compelling network for social exchanges and interaction - but what drives Facebook's revenue is the other thing they developed: An advertising system with breathtakingly detailed demographic targeting.
To do this, Facebook is tracking everything its users post on Facebook, and is encouraging its users to post more and more information. Ostensibly that's for the human reason, letting friends and family know what's up. But it also gives Facebook more data with which it can help the advertisers to more accurately target advertising.
Facebook is clearly making money off the user data it collects. It is not explicitly selling that data, but it is just as explicitly raking in huge gobs of money from that data.
And, one wonders just what else is Facebook doing with that data? Government Spies would certainly like access to the detailed information collected by Facebook. The government would of course express it as the need to catch criminals, but at the end of the day government surveillance is always about dictatorial control over the population.