Facebook’s Problems Are Just Beginning
Image Courtesy: Evening Standard

Facebook’s Problems Are Just Beginning

In 2004, I founded a company called WiProx. The company was based on a vision that a ubiquitous platform could deliver contextual advertising to individuals who have opted into this advertising and who would receive consideration (something of value) in exchange.

My partners and I were overwhelmed by the need to create complex and impenetrable defenses that would ensure that person information of any sort (including name and location) would not be accessible to the advertiser or anyone else.

We approached partners all around the world. With every potential partner of every sort, meeting privacy regulations and safeguarding personal information was paramount.

Ultimately, the business failed and was wound down because the difficulty of meeting privacy thresholds in countries like Italy and Thailand proved too burdensome.

At the same time, some kid in his dorm at Harvard was throwing caution to the wind and building a system which used personal information unwittingly, unwillingly and perhaps stolen in order to create the backbone of his platform.

That kid would later hire a woman who would encourage him to continue to push all boundaries, as she herself was quickly well known among Harvard’s Class of 1991 as having gotten her start by throwing caution to the wind. Her husband would later die in a treadmill accident in Mexico. (I suppose that this is possible, but I spend lots of time in gyms and don't see too many treadmill accidents).

In 2018, these two would finally do a mea culpa and say essentially “I am sorry but we never thought about privacy” and even try and to pin the blame on others.

The genie is now out of the bottle. Their proclamations of innocence fall on deaf ears. There will be many, many more revelations about Facebook’s transgressions in the weeks to come.

And, in 5 years, Facebook won’t be relevant anymore, if it even exists.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding BestCashCow in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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