What’s Right, and Wrong, With Social Media

CreditChris Kindred

To the Editor:

Re “Its Ideals Tainted, Can Social Media Shine Again?,” by Kevin Roose (The Shift column, Business Day, March 29):

The appropriate frustration and disappointment resulting from the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica disclosures are making it easy to forget the personal and economic benefits of social media.

For example, let’s not forget that we choose to integrate these services into our daily lives because they allow us to deepen social connections and enable us to exercise our individual agency in a fashion that was impossible before their emergence. Or that these services have created millions of jobs, new business ecosystems and helped fuel the rise of the digital economy that brings broad societal benefit.

But it is important not to forget the learning of lessons and the hoped-for change. We are seeing some of these changes now. There is no playbook for addressing the principles at play here, and so it will not be all smooth sailing. But you can be certain that the effort will be earnest and that these services will be better as a result.


The writer is president and chief executive of the Information Technology Industry Council, a lobbying group for Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Amazon, among others.

To the Editor:

America Needs Better Privacy Rules” (editorial, April 2) misses a critical point: When users post anything “private” on Facebook, they are sharing it with all their “friends,” who often number in the hundreds.

Once something is shared with hundreds of others, it is not private. Lax privacy rules are indeed a problem, but denial about posts remaining private is another major problem, and unlike the lax rules, what is posted is within the direct control of every Facebook user.


To the Editor:

The Facebook brouhaha has fascinated me for one reason: When you sign up for Facebook, you aren’t obligated to put any information about yourself in the sign-up. You are asked, but you don’t have to reply.

Several people I know have little or no information about themselves out there, and some have put in wrong birthdays and left out education, hometown and so on.

My hometown is listed incorrectly. I don’t know why it’s even there, but I don’t care. The people I’m on Facebook with know who I am, and that’s all that counts. If the data miners get it wrong, tough.


To the Editor:

We are sidestepping the larger problem of this predictable data breach.

Facebook has been using — and selling — our data with little or no active consent or even active thought given by most data owners for more than a decade. This basic trade-off, of privacy for convenience, has been fundamental to the operation of social media sites over the last decade.

The loss of user data to Cambridge Analytica is obviously an issue. But the bigger issue is the loss of countless hours to Facebook and other social media outlets. Compounding that issue is how screens affect our interactions with others and how social media influences our understanding and awareness of the world around us.

Facebook’s data breach without user consent should be a catalyst inspiring examination of our connection to screens and how screen time affects news consumption, time management and intimate relationships.


To the Editor:

I agree that we need better privacy rules. Here’s a simple solution. Why not pay consumers for the use of their data?

Instead of combing through agreements for buried data use protocols and having to “opt out” of data sharing, consumers would “opt in” to data sharing in exchange for a fee, depending on the extent and the frequency of data use.

Much simpler, and more fair.


Let’s block ads! (Why?)


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