Case 3 Analysis Facebook Privacy What Privacy
Facebook is a $338 billion-dollar company servicing over 1.65 billion users worldwide on their social networking website. Similarly, to google or twitter, this tech giant doesn’t have a physical storefront and inventory of products to sell in order to generate revenue. Yet in 2017 the company reported revenues of over “$40 billion the bulk of which came from digital advertisements, which brought in $39.9 billion” (How Does Facebook Make Money, Sharma, 2018). Facebook is in the business of Information, and thanks to those 1.65 billion users, Facebook has amassed an inconceivable amount of highly specific information. Which they sell to various advertising agencies and companies in order to meet their goal of serving users with ads that are directly targeted at them and their interests. However, in recent years Facebook has come under heavy fire from privacy advocate groups, government and users collectively for privacy invasion. The counter-argument by Facebook has always been that when you create an account and agree to their terms and conditions you wave your privacy rights in regard to the data you share on Facebook.
The ethical dilemma presented in this case study surrounds Facebooks monitor, collection and sale of user information to various advertisers and app developers. Furthermore, the information’s level of sensitivity in some cases combined with people beliefs that their current privacy settings make it secure when it really isn't creates another problem. Also, Facebook's been accused and caught tracking online activity outside of their website using third party resources, information outside of their in-app privacy agreements and terms of conditions (McGuinness, 2018). The question arises, should Facebook have all rights to your personal information shared on and now off the sight, and is it right for a company to sell your personal information to the highest bidder?
The relationship between privacy and Facebooks business model is essential because of the way Facebook generates the majority of their revenue. Facebook will try to minimalize the level of privacy users have because the more information they have the more they can sell to generate revenue. If they edit “default settings to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the collection and use of users' data,” their revenues would plummet (Why Facebook Will Never Change Its Business Model, Sherman, 2018). Privacy, or the lack thereof is Facebook's business model.
The Weaknesses of Facebook's current privacy policies and features are; inadequate protection from hackers, lack of user knowledge of settings, third-party invasions, collection and tracking of user data without permission, user biometric data interlaced into software without user permission and varied privacy standards and law globally. The management factors fueling these issues are the agreements users agree to. Management also ignored the level to which its services were violating privacy agreements due to the desire to make money. Organization factors are that the site is more or less the mother load to advertisers, but it depends on users feeling safe enough to share their personal information on the site, which has been in a decrease in light of recent events. Also, the app fails to properly educate or advocate for the education of its privacy settings to users. Technology and the level of integration it has in today's society is a huge weakness factor to privacy. Most people access Facebook on their mobile phones, computers and tablets, this increases the number of third-party apps that could access Facebook through these devices. Hackers are always one step ahead of the current privacy and security technology that Facebook has.
No, in my option and as stated before the more Facebook increases user privacy the less money they will make. I do believe that the company should work round the clock to protect the site from third-party data miners and hackers. If they accomplish this, they will be solely responsible for the amount of and content of the user information they sell. This would hold them to stricter standards and accountable for what user information gets out. They should continue to invest in app security technology to improve user trust with the company. There are new social platforms popping up every day, all free if Facebook introduced a paid, ad-free, no information collected and sold version they would lose costumers. “70% of its 1.65 million users log in every day and are between 18 and 24 years of age,” it’s this demographic that advertiser desperately wants information from (The Ultimate Lis of Marketing Statistics for 2018, 2018). This demographic also happens to have the lowest amount of expendable income, shout out tuition cost. People would switch to free social platforms. For these reasons I believe Facebook can not have a successful business model unless they continue to decrease the level of privacy, they offer users.
McGuinness, H. (2018, May 16). Facebook: Internet Privacy Case Study. Retrieved September
Sharma, R. (2018, July 25). How does Facebook make money? Retrieved September 26, 2018,
Sherman, L. (2018, May 23). Why Facebook Will Never Change Its Business Model. Retrieved
(2018). 2018 Marketing Statistics, Trends & Data - The Ultimate List of Digital Marketing
Stats. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics
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