Facebook has troubles but seems to have dodged a torpedo. Hubris ruled Facebook’s executive suites far too long as financial success overshadowed the common sense needed to curtail dangers coming on the horizon.
All of a sudden Facebook has become not just the go-to social media location for more than 2-billion earthlings, it’s also the location and means for which earthlings are stripped of their own privacy; information which made others rich, and left us to wallow as manipulated addicts. Apple’s walled garden is looking pretty good now, right?
Knowledge vs. Wisdom
To be fair about comparing privacy and security issues between Facebook and Apple is much like comparing, well Apple against apples. They’re not quite the same. But neither is the attitude adopted by executives who run each business model.
Apple makes money the old fashioned way. Hardware sales. Yes, Services is a rapidly growing division at Apple, but wholly dependent upon hardware sales, no? Apple has a vested interest in keeping the 1-billion or so customer base happy. Facebook has a vested interest in its 2-billion users and seems to have failed miserably.
Simply put, Facebook knows far more about you than Apple because the business model is crafted around taking information from you and using it to generate revenue and profits. Apple’s model is the old fashioned version whereby they make something customers like. Here’s a Facebook Newsroom headline you’ll like:
It’s Time to Make Our Privacy Tools Easier to Find
Fair enough. But what else does the headline say? It infers that privacy tools were difficult to find before Facebook was caught manipulating user information.
We’ve heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find and that we must do more to keep people informed.
Remember, there is a measure of security through obscurity. Out of sight, out of mind. Facebook hid access to such privacy management tools because if too many hundreds of millions of Facebook users managed their own privacy settings, the company would not make as much profits.
Remember, too, that Apple collects information from customers, too, but it isn’t part of the business model, so our favorite iPhone and Mac maker can afford to anonymize the information. Data collection still benefits Apple, still benefits app developers, and, in the long run, benefits Apple’s customers– you and I– without invading our privacy or manipulating our behavior.
Put another way, Facebook just knows more about us than Apple could ever find out, so it’s better that Apple doesn’t need to know.
We’ve redesigned our entire settings menu on mobile devices from top to bottom to make things easier to find. Instead of having settings spread across nearly 20 different screens, they’re now accessible from a single place. We’ve also cleaned up outdated settings so it’s clear what information can and can’t be shared with apps.
Thank you, Facebook, for being influenced by authorities and public outcry and a wave of shame that finally brought your executives to their senses to do only what should have been done after the company’s inception.
Why is Facebook doing this? The business model depends upon collecting and using and selling user information, so Facebook has collected– and used– as much as possible; legally or otherwise. And without divulging how it has been used.
Some people want to delete things they’ve shared in the past, while others are just curious about the information Facebook has. So we’re introducing Access Your Information – a secure way for people to access and manage their information, such as posts, reactions, comments, and things you’ve searched for.
Oh, and legislation. Some countries are already on the privacy and information legislation bandwagon, and Facebook’s recent actions are designed to stop or slow or help control such initiatives as quickly as possible.
It’s also our responsibility to tell you how we collect and use your data in language that’s detailed, but also easy to understand. In the coming weeks, we’ll be proposing updates to Facebook’s terms of service that include our commitments to people. We’ll also update our data policy to better spell out what data we collect and how we use it. These updates are about transparency – not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data.
I do not doubt that many tens of millions of Facebook users will leave the social media giant, but with more than 2-billion users, that’s a small price to pay. More transparency is not about those who leave, but more about keeping regulators away from the door.
Now, how about Apple’s walled garden ecosystem? No, Apple isn’t perfect. The 2017 fiasco about throttling iPhone performance in iOS 10 indicates more that Apple wanted to do the right thing but did it wrong. But Apple’s entire business model is based upon making customers happy, while Facebook’s business model is to take information away from users to the company’s benefit.
Big difference, no?