Facebook: It's About the Money
1.Perform an ethical analysis of Facebook. What is the ethical dilemma presented in this case?
Facebook has been synonyms to Internet and Social networking since few years. The latest statistics of 2015 March shows that 1.44 billion of monthly active users. It started from 2004 as a campus project but later on became the most popular on the world. It generated more than $12 billion revenue on 2014 year. Every people surfing the internet have Facebook account and have their private information/details available there. Initially Facebook had less mechanism for privacy control and setting the audiences but as of latest changes it have almost every personal information be available for control of privacy setting to Only me, Friends and Public so on.
In later year what Facebook got turning point is while it be the hub for business advertisement, almost all business firm have their Facebook Page as their promotional site. The revenue of Facebook comes from advertising. Since Facebook have every information about personal interest, behavior, profession, locality and friend circle, Facebook can advertise targeting more relevant audiences. Now comes the case of Privacy. Many users claimed that Facebook eased the access of user personal information to advertisers. So, there comes the tradeoff between advertisement targeting and users privacy.
This case concerns about users privacy issue and Facebook's advertising strategies. If Facebook wishes to save users privacy, advertisers get less benefited. So the tradeoff exist between whether to choose the revenue generation or users privacy protection. But it's the fact Facebook should concern users' right and interest because no advertiser would exist if no users are there.
2.What is the relationship of privacy to Facebook's business model?
The claim of individuals to be left alone, free from surveillance and/or interference from other individuals or organizations is known as privacy. The rise of internet technology and social networking raise challenge on privacy of individuals. The major revenue generation of Facebook is through advertising and advertisements are targeted on basis of users' information. When comes to case of users privacy, customers are the major concern of all business. If there are no users then no business can sustain.
Facebook have separate department to deal with users' privacy. The privacy and data control mechanism is highly sophisticated. Facebook in initial phase had less privacy control but now it have wide range of control mechanism. So Facebook have many developer dedicated for users' privacy management. Facebook should concern on data and database security, as Facebook eases developers to connect with API (Application Program Interface) to give access for users and page information. So providing such mechanism makes Facebook system more sophisticated and adds complexity on managing too.
As Facebook previously supposed data they have collected is their property but later on came to the conclusion it's their capital, so they should be liable for users information. Personal information comes with privacy issues so, Facebook have been changing its' structure and strategies on a continuous way.
3.Describe the weaknesses of Facebook's privacy policies and features. What management, organization, and technology factors have contributed to those weaknesses?
Although Facebook have strong privacy control mechanism there arises some privacy and copyright infringement due to visitors and other unconscious parties. Facebook can control what user can see but cannot control absolutely: what user can post or share on pages. Facebook generating revenue from advertising should give access to advertiser some level for choosing the target of users. This will leave a security hole for external world. So the weakness of Facebook is on the control over the content posted on the page. There are regularly arising cases that most government request Facebook to remove content that are against national sovereignty and ethically acceptable.
Facebook should control the content that are offensive and are beyond the interest of person. There should be more control over who can see our content. Every personal information should have control of audience and the expiry of supplied information. Facebook should make concern on ownership of removed and expired contents. It should let more control for user upon the audience of every items it share and post along with the date up to which it be there.
4.Will Facebook be able to have a successful business model without invading privacy? Explain your answer. Are there any measures Facebook could take to make this possible?
We should accept that advertiser are requesting more access to personal information because Facebook may limit them but if Facebook delineated strictly on what information are provided then business person have no choice but accepting it. Current advertising is mainly by the way of online media and social networks. This way have no long history. Business should have adopted to traditional approaches if no social media were there but since they adopted on this technology they obviously adopt on users preferences and respect their privacy.
The ultimate goal of business is to satisfy user, if marketing is done against their wish, soon or later the firm will be wiped out. Yes, Facebook can have successful business model without invading privacy. If Facebook prompts with option of denial the users for every information it share then it won't be the violation. There are other ethical way respecting user privacy and doing business at once. Facebook can generate new way of advertising and targeting audience.