People will 'go right back to scrolling their newsfeeds' as Facebook scandal blows over: TechCrunch editor
Facebook may be in the middle of a tough few weeks when it comes to its reputation on the international stage, but one expert says it’s unlikely to affect the company’s health long-term.
In an interview on this weekend’s edition of The West Block, Josh Constine, editor-at-large of online publication TechCrunch, spoke about the fallout from CEO Mark Zuckerberg‘s recent testimony on Capitol Hill.
“I think, long term, we’re really going to see a reversion to the status quo,” Constine said.
“Once this scandal blows over, people are going to go right back to scrolling their newsfeeds.”
Zuckerberg gave Facebook exactly what it needed by delivering “extremely boring” answers during his testimony before House and Senate committees, he added. The lawmakers, in turn, cooperated by asking very simple questions and, in some cases, appearing not to understand how Facebook works.
“The company was really hoping to get away without any viral soundbites or big juicy moments. … It was pretty stale,” Constine said.
Still, Facebook is already making changes in an attempt to avoid any additional government regulation following revelations that personal data linked to millions of users was obtained by data firm Cambridge Analytica and used to influence elections.
Government regulation has been suggested, but it probably wouldn’t have the desired effect, Constine said.
“(If) Congress and world governments put too (many) regulations on Facebook, it might just amount to a ‘paperwork speed bump’ for the big company, which has armies of lawyers to deal with compliance,” he explained.
“But it could deter smaller startups from ever growing into true rivals. That’s what we need is alternatives to Facebook to keep this big company treating our data well.”
In Canada, he suggested, the federal government could look at implementing a requirement for Facebook to alert users of future data breaches or stolen data within 72 hours.
“And I think the government should make it so that Facebook has to let you find your friends on other competing apps,” Constine said.
As for individual users, they need to stop thinking of Facebook as something they get for free, but as a service they get in exchange for providing their personal data.
“People need to treat the permissions they give, and the contracts they sign online, the way that they treat road signs. When you see a stop sign, you know you have to read it and abide by it to stay safe, but when you give your app data to an app on Facebook, you don’t really think about it the same way.”
— Watch the full interview with Josh Constine above.