Facebook is being sued by the FTC and AGs from 46 states for its monopoly-like behavior which has negatively affected consumer privacy.
Facebook has a checkered history when it comes to how its handled user data and privacy.
There are countless examples and instances of Facebook misusing or abusing customer data, collecting or sharing data without clear consent, and finding new ways to collect user data in order to fuel its advertising ecosystem.
The sheer amount of data it provides to advertisers has also led to a number of real-world consequences, such as impacts on elections as we saw from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Even now, Facebook continues to collect data from its users across Facebook, Instagram, and even off Facebook. For example, if a website has social media buttons or integrations on the page, that allows Facebook to collect data from visitors on the page.
Any app integration, such as dating apps or Spotify, also gives Facebook the ability to collect data.
That Facebook is responsible for an increasingly worse user privacy experience, is a major part of the anti-trust case being brought against Facebook.
As the Wired article discusses, a monopoly can only be considered illegal if it negatively affects users, which can be a hard argument to make for a free service like Facebook. However, the argument that it makes privacy worse for the people is one that may lead to a successful case against Facebook.
There’s no way to know what the outcome of this case may result in. Facebook may need to break up and divest from Instagram and Facebook or it may have to adhere to more strict privacy processes and limit its sharing or advertising options.
However, if you feel like Facebook has negatively affected your privacy, there are ways to limit how much data the social media platform takes from you without having to delete your data.
- Change your privacy settings on Facebook
- Limit Off-Facebook activity
- Turn off any ad personalization
- Use a tracker blocker
- Use a privacy-minded browser
This will make it more difficult for Facebook to capture your data and share it with thousands of advertisers looking to sell you something or influence you in potentially more dangerous ways.
To learn more about how Facebook is being viewed through this lens of consumer privacy and what the litigation entails, check out the Wired article here.