Instead, we’ve paid with our data. We’ve paid with our consumer profiles, locations, friend lists and more. It’s a payment that, in many ways, we never see. We don’t always recognize the tailor-made ads popping up in our feeds. Instead, it takes a cultural shock, like this Cambridge Analytica scandal, for people to realize what we’ve given up.
Per a class assignment, I’m supposed to analyze Zuckerberg’s apology here. On first read, it sounds great. He explains the timeline, takes responsibility as a leader, points out the changes Facebook has made, all of it. Seems fine, right?
Except he never says I’m sorry.
He never really apologizes, or even pretends it’s an apology. Instead, it’s presented as merely an update. While acknowledging that Facebook made mistakes, he doesn’t specify what they were. He admits that there’s a breach of trust between Facebook and its users, but he doesn’t say it’s Facebook’s fault. Instead he simply says he wants to fix it.
While I don’t know the legal situation (maybe he has a bigger reason for not admitting that Facebook’s privacy policies were too weak?), the apology rings hollow. He does well to point out the steps Facebook is taking to fix the issue (and the ones they’ve already taken), but without him taking more responsibility and expressing remorse at his own company’s actions, it’s not an apology.
There’s a quote that’s been floating around the internet for a while that I feel is particularly relevant here:
“If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”
When it comes to Facebook, Zuckerberg would do well to take better care of his product, before it leaves for a different platform.