What is Facebook’s problem?
Answer: they are running a near monopoly. They have information on two billion users, and they use it to make vast amounts of money. Not everyone is happy, having someone else know all about them, especially when all that personal stuff is used without their express approval.
Case in point: profiles on 50 million users, which were used to predict how people would vote in the 2016 presidential election. The left in particular is angry, because that information was used by the Trump campaign. How come Facebook let this information out? How come Facebook apparently didn't stop it fast?
There will be hearings. Founder Mark Zuckerberg will be hauled before Britain’s parliament or America’s congress. Or both. It will be grand political theater.
But what restrictions do we really want to impose? That’s the central question. Surely, we don't want to stop all data-mining. If Facebook compiles anonymous profiles to sell to advertisers, isn't that okay? It’s anonymous. Those 50 million profiles used in the election were evidently not anonymous, and that surely is a problem.
When a company amasses such extraordinary power, pushback is inevitable. Facebook seems to be at that point. They decide what's fit for your news feed. That’s power. They are censors. We should create rules that ensure political fairness.
And selling personal information that can be linked directly to that person: that too requires rules. Rules ensuring anonymity.
Bottom line: here comes regulation. We should be careful. We should take time. Don't destroy Facebook or the data-mining business.
How about some serious competition? I'd join a social network that gave me an extra degree of privacy and gave me fair and balanced news.