Mark Zuckerberg at the Supreme Court

Last week, on April 24, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg testified to the supreme court. He volunteered to testify due to the Cambridge analytica scandal. Zuckerberg was very courageous for volunteering and representing Facebook. But he was not only representing Facebook, but all of the other social media platforms and data storing businesses such as Google, Snapchat, Linkedin, and Pinterest. In the eight hour hearing, Zuckerberg was bombarded with questions for the entire time from each and every senator. The core problem which was addressed by the senate was if or not businesses like facebook are congruent to their consumers about the data which they are collecting. Many senators thought that Facebook’s terms and services user agreement was not clear enough, and it is not clear to a Facebook user what is really happening when they interact with Facebook. Many senators also felt that the large collection of personal data may qualify as an invasion of privacy. Zuckerberg oftentimes said that the user controls every single thing one does on Facebook’s platform, from liking pages, to interacting with friends, to clicking on advertisements, and all Facebook does it collect that data. On a different note, Senator Brooke asked, “How is Facebook supposed to make money if you don’t charge anyone.” This is when Zuckerberg replied, “We sell advertising sir.” This comical conversation shows another issue with outsiders voicing their opinion on Facebook’s data policy. People that do not fully understand Facebook advertising and Facebook’s business model, believe a false truth that Facebook is being sly with data and selling it to third parties. The funning thing is that not many understand Facebook, so when the media writes stories on the matter, having no clue about reality, the average people think Facebook is being malicious. Which could not be farther from the truth. Facebook has become the new social interaction and route of communication for society, and with a communication medium such as Facebook, there is lots of power. Even the power to influence political elections from advertisements, but so does the newspaper, radio, and television.

Jake Blanchfield