NBC Think: If Facebook wants to protect user data, it needs to disclose what it has and let people opt out

March 21, 2018

The Cambridge Analytica story has struck a chord because of the company's connection to Trump and their resemblance to cartoon villains -- and there’s seemingly no doubt that the company violated Facebook’s rules. But Cambridge Analytica's harvesting of more than 50 million Americans' personal information without their knowledge or consent is really just a byproduct of the larger disease.

Facebook — and countless companies like it — are in the business of collecting and selling access to everyone’s data on a scale that boggles the mind.

Facebook says that it is “outraged” over the brewing scandal and that it “will take whatever steps are required” to prevent a similar incident from happening again. But why should anyone trust them? Their business model, as well as countless other online companies', is to control and then sell to advertisers microtargeted connections to the most massive collection of personal data in human history, encompassing literally billions of people.

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