Following the news last week that Facebook could be fined up to $5 billion by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for its huge privacy breach, TFT asked Modex, the blockchain smart contract marketplace, CTO Alin Iftemi to weigh in on the social networks user data protection.
Alin: From the beginning of its popularity, Facebook started with its left foot in user data protection, their product being designed for the company’s financial interests, rather than data protection and/or data ownership.
Now, user privacy is guaranteed by the authorities, and the result is a long series of accusations, court trials and scandals related to the Facebook data privacy topic.
Facebook is a heavy ship and within their processes everything gets into motion slowly.
Facebook has protected its interests to these accusations, and has developed over time a lot of functionalities to prove their genuine data protection policies. It seems that every single small set back has been transformed into a public scandal. It’s like the shepherd yelling too many times: “The wolf is coming” and when the wolf shows up, nobody believes it.
I believe that Facebook is going to play the shepherd role, in terms of data protection. Also, they mentioned blockchain at some point, but it’s very difficult to understand or to know what really happens behind the curtains. Even if the data is anonymously used for user benefits, like showing the right ads, that is still a question of privacy: “Did I ask for that? Am I comfortable with that?”
In this moment, they are feeling the public pressure and are seriously thinking of making things better, but Facebook is a heavy ship and within their processes everything gets into motion slowly.
Is blockchain a solution? Most probably yes, it can be the right solution, but this approach is not going to be implemented overnight in such a giant product.
In the end, let’s face it, Facebook is an app we all use, with our own will and we are aware of the implications and risks we expose ourselves to. We should have faith that Facebook will also provide decentralised access to their functionalities.