First, an apology from FB after a few days! This raises crucial questions. Why so long? Doesn’t FB know what its own system is doing?? Or did they know, but had to figure out what their “optimal” response could and should be? Either which way, it does not look too good at all IMHO whichever way you look at it, even with the best will in the world!

Should FB’s apology be accepted and/or should there be some strong and effectively punitive, financial penalties that “encourage” FB to understand that user rights and use of user data should not be abused and violated? In his statement MZ said “The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago”. Hardly confidence enhancing since if true, how come this has happened right now? Hardly logical! Someone should go back to the school bench.

Possibly financial sanctions should also be designed to ensure that if anything similar ever happens again, FB knows what the outcome should, could, and would be. And for that to happen, effective measures need to be taken now rather than at some indefinite time and place in the world of “tomorrow”.

Otherwise, repetitions will undoubtedly recur. Profits are too great for FB to resist temptation.

Merely accepting a late and painless apology from FB does not per se seem to be a sufficient remedy. Substantial effort should be put into ensuring that FB plays by the rules (including its own) such that income gained in any given country should be assessed for tax and paid as tax revenues in that country, and not just be shifted to and declared in countries with the lowest possible corporate tax rates in or outside the EU.

Real penalties are called for that could at least indirectly benefit users who have had their privacy violated in recent years.
In addition, if FB wishes to stay in business, it should clarify and streamline its reporting systems so that users can monitor and “guide” FB to do what is right. A couple of months ago fearing some Brexiteer gangsters I had to report a physically threatening post I received to FB, and then received a typically cryptic FB response, and secondly worse still zero response to my request for clarification from FB.

An apology alone is totally insufficient. It would mean we accept from FB something like “We are terribly sorry we violated your privacy and did not follow our own terms and conditions. We did not mean to do this, we hope you will understand, our mission is to serve you to the best of our ability”. And not just to make enormous profits for our founders and shareholders. Or is FB, like some banks, too big to fail.
If it is close to that, then maybe that is all the more reason to make sanctions for the current failure as punitive as legally possible. So there would be little doubt about the applicability of future sanctions.
So “Never_Ever_Again” could be the buzz phrase to shout for a “call to effective action” before it is too late! And if this weakens FB, so be it, It is not undeserved. Maybe it is worth the price even though many may still think of FB as the world’s social media platform. God, China or Russia, please help us; if we can’t help ourselves!

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