On Tuesday, the Head of New York City’s pension funds demanded outright that Mark Zuckerberg step down as chairman of the board and find three new independent directors to take the role. His frustrations stem from the $1 billion stake his company has placed in Facebook on behalf of citizen’s retirement funds, an investment that looks less and less stable every minute. Yesterday, it came to light that 37 million more people had their data harvested by Cambridge Analytica than first thought, information that was revealed by Facebook themselves. Never a dull moment in the ever-revealing sphere of Facebook-gate.
However as the dust begins to settle (for the time being) there appears to also be a silver lining on the horizon as Facebook begins the slow process of making its platform better and teasing back some sort of trust from the world-wide cohort.
In a conference with the media yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg floated the idea of the incoming European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) being applied to all of his platform’s users worldwide. It was a tenuous claim, the statement itself not being entirely clear about how such a concept would work, especially when the original rules applied only to the European audience. Yet despite a number of reports speculating that this would mean American users would be left in the data-dark, TechCrunch has since clarified that the new European protections are hoped to eventually apply to everyone.
Coined as the ‘most important change in data privacy regulation in twenty years,’ the GDPR will be implemented on the 25th May this year and will mean that companies who do not comply face large fines from the EU. The new movement will provide all citizens in the European Union the right to view exactly what information each company holds on them, an enhanced right to be forgotten and it will also prevent companies from taking extra pieces of personal information that are not required for whatever online process it being undertaken. The new legislation only applies to EU members, which means that the American have no such certainties surrounding their data.
The general consensus following Zuckerberg’s interview with the press suggested that the GDPR would be factored into future data decisions, however, at the time it was unclear whether this would mean the whole extent of GDPR would apply worldwide. Though the way that Facebook would implement these rules across it’s platform remain somewhat of a grey area, the announcement, or more like a change of heart, revealing this would apply to everyone demonstrates the CEO’s active lurch into going above and beyond data protection.
“Overall I think regulations like this are very positive.”
Although at the moment there are some regulations around the world that would contradict GDPR, the platform has set the bar for somehow incorporating the gist of the regulations towards everyone.
What’s set to come next for Facebook is a long slog of legalities and future propositions that would aim to stop this from happening again, most of which is detailed in a statement released yesterday on their website. It revealed abilities such as searching someone by their phone number will be disabled and will mean users have to give permission for apps to use their data, and ultimately a start to Facebook’s recovery.
The main challenge for Zuckerberg here is to rebuild trust, from his investors to his users. However, despite all of the negative implications that have trickled out of the platform, the bigger reality here sees Zuckerberg somehow come out on top. His share in the company is still huge – combine this with the realisation that most users still have too much invested in Facebook, too many friends around the world, too many contacts that they would lose, too many tagged pictures, birthdays, messages and everything in between; then the future for Facebook isn’t really as gloomy.
Did you really stop using Facebook when this news broke?