The Facebook Problem

Watershed moments like the Cambridge Analytica scandal have strongly impacted public perception of personal data, drawing attention to the degree of unregulated power multinational tech giants like Facebook possess. Unlike more conventional MNC’s, technology giants like Facebook and Uber have prided themselves in resisting regulation, arguing that the slow, constrictive and often outdated regulatory frameworks cannot apply to such rapid technological innovation. As market preferences change, Facebook has continuously expanded its user base, purchasing WhatsApp and Instagram and dominating the market with more than 2.3 billion active users. However, the Facebook revenue model, which relies heavily on user data and preferences used in the companies advertising platform, has been continuously bogged down by controversy. As consumers continue to engage with such platforms and consume more information than ever before, misinformation, manipulative algorithms, and a lack of policing have become primary propellants behind calls for regulation. There is no doubt that regulation must exist in some form, and it seems that the time of MNC’s like Facebook operating largely unhindered by regulatory frameworks is over. Platforms tend to be heavily monetized through advertisement, and corporate dynamics are virtually unavoidable. Content has become increasingly targeted, and with that, comes the added issue of agenda pushing and content designed to be misleading and divisive. The use of big data to absorb and process a large amount of personal data revealed by our preferences and usage of such platforms also makes targeting and influencing views a natural process; a process that has already drawn significant criticism through scandals like Cambridge Analytics and the Brexit scandal; both of which involved manipulating Facebook user data.

By holding such platforms unaccountable, we as consumers support the notion of markets being able to regulate frameworks when interacting with personal data in an ethical manner and there is a clear indication that profit-driven incentives have overtaken any semblance of responsibility and accountability. Mark Zuckerberg recently called for the “stricter regulation of harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability” online, and it seems with this, will likely come a new wave of social responsibility initiatives from technology companies like Facebook. The EU and the United States have long deliberated on ways to mitigate and address this issue. In the age of rapid technological innovation, it seems that many of the companies that would seemingly be at the forefront of corporate social responsibility have instead, long benefited from a severe lack of accountability. The destructive capability of the misuse of data, as seen in recent controversies surrounding Facebook, can and should be likened to controversies that arise from more conventional MNC’s like Royal Dutch Shell and Nestle; corporate social responsibility must be binding to all sectors, and it seems that long needed reform may soon be on its way.

Works Cited:

Afoko, Carys. “Government Can’t Regulate Facebook – It’s up to All of Us | Carys Afoko.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 1 Apr. 2019,

“Mark Zuckerberg Says He Wants More Regulation for Facebook.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 4 Apr. 2019,

Wattles, Jackie, and Donie O’Sullivan. “Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Calls for More Regulation of the Internet.” CNN, Cable News Network, 30 Mar. 2019,

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