Particularly in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, we may still think that Facebook is world-changing, but now we know its visionaries, from CEO Mark Zuckerberg on down, were wearing blinders. And so the media tide has turned. Dramatically.
Cases in point: Two of the world's leading business-focused magazines, The Economist and Bloomberg Businessweek, have both published anti-Facebook cover stories at approximately the same time (the former with its issue dated March 24-30 and the latter with its issue dated March 26).
The unbylined Economist cover story is headlined, inside the magazine, "Facebook faces a reputational meltdown," and includes this rather blunt passage:
Facebook seems to think it only needs to tweak its approach. In fact it, and other firms that hoover up consumer data, should assume that their entire business model is at risk. As users become better informed, the alchemy of taking their data without paying and manipulating them for profit may die. Firms may need to compensate people for their data or let them pay to use platforms ad-free. Profits won't come as easily, but the alternative is stark. If Facebook ends up as a regulated utility with its returns on capital capped, its earnings may drop by 80%. How would you like that, Mr Zuckerberg?
Read the whole Economist piece here.
The Bloomberg Businessweek cover story, meanwhile, is an essay by Paul Ford headlined "Silicon Valley Has Failed to Protect Our Data. Here's How to Fix It." He writes,
I'd like to propose something that will seem impossible but I would argue isn't: Let's make a digital Environmental Protection Agency. Call it the Digital Protection Agency. Its job would be to clean up toxic data spills, educate the public, and calibrate and levy fines.
Read the whole Bloomberg Businessweek piece here.