Forecasting Online Privacy After Facebook’s Senate Investigation

Mark Zuckerberg was brought before the United States Senate for an investigation into how his company handles its users’ confidential data a few weeks back. It seems apart from Mr. Zuckerberg being shred into by enraged Senators nothing much came out of it. In this report, we’ll hypothesize on how internet privacy rules may or not change as a result of this trial.

Reactive Encouragement by Social Media

It was apparent, and in the days since the Senate investigation, it has happened as expected. Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, and other social media sites have put up notifications and statements to comfort you that they do care about your privacy and security. Facebook’s “Privacy Commitments” and Security Check-Ups have been appearing more on users’ timelines, Twitter displayed a notice at the page top, and other websites are doing the same. It is merely a knee-jerk PR move since the users now all of a sudden care about their online privacy. Before you know it, the public will have moved on to the next issue as it’s highly doubtful whether anything groundbreaking will come out of this.

Short Notice from Lawmakers Prior to Moving On

Political figures at all levels are speedily capitalizing on the latest controversial issue by taking a leaf out of the Senate’s denouncement of Facebook’s practices. Hollow clichés and assurances can be found on the Twitter feed of ex-presidential candidates, governors, and even down to local city council members. But, like social media platforms, it’s unlikely these political figures will do anything of value to back up their claims. The only thing that has come of it is that Net Neutrality has gained a slight momentum, but no new laws were passed or introduced.

How Can I Take Action on this Matter?

How can you emphasize and muster support for online privacy as public attention is fading away quickly? Write to your government representatives at every tier as this is the first and most natural step. Start with your city council, mayor, and state representatives and senators, then move up to the governor, federal representatives and senators, and a Change.org petition if need be. Do it yourself! Don’t wait on others.

Millions of accounts went dark in a week as #deletefacebook movement garnered tremendous support. One less account equals one less revenue from ads and selling your data.

To close, it’s apparent nothing significant has come out of Facebook’s investigation, but there are still things you can do even though it’s losing public attention.

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