Originally published April 30, 2019
Facebook is preparing to pay a multi-billion-dollar fine and dealing with ongoing ire from all corners for its user privacy lapses, the viral transmission of lies during elections, and delivery of ads in ways that skew along gender and racial lines. To grapple with these problems (and to get ahead of the bad PR they created), Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has proposed that governments get together and set some laws and regulations for Facebook to follow.
But Zuckerberg should be aiming higher. The question isn’t just what rules should a reformed Facebook follow. The bigger question is what all the big tech companies’ relationships with users should look like. The framework needed can’t be created out of whole cloth just by new government regulation; it has to be grounded in professional ethics.
Doctors and lawyers, as they became increasingly professionalized in the 19th century, developed formal ethical codes that became the seeds of modern-day professional practice. Tech-company professionals should follow their example. An industry-wide code of ethics could guide companies through the big questions of privacy and harmful content.
The info is here.
Editor's note: Many social media companies engage in unethical behavior on a regular basis, typically revolving around lack of consent, lack of privacy standards, filter bubble (personalized algorithms) issues, lack of accountability, lack of transparency, harmful content, and third party use of data.