The recent chaos between Facebook, Inc. Common Stock (NASDAQ:FB) and Cambridge Analytica has caused a wind of awareness among Facebook users and has brought the risk of data surveillance culture to the forefront of mainstream discussions.
The conflict, among other may other prospects have awakened people’s urge for information regarding their as well as changing their apps permission. The chaos prompted the “Delete Facebook” movement. FTC also launched a probe into Facebook, a move that has caused Facebook stock to slump.
The debacle involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica is basically made up of very simple facts-users of Facebook entrusted the social media company with their private information, then Facebook allowed a third-party to access the information. Facebook did this in line with the terms of service, which was formally agreed on by users but which they rarely understood. The access by Cambridge Analytica was outside what Facebook and its users authorized. The whole drama has demonstrated the harm that can be caused by large scale collection of data.
Although it is important to have a discussion on the mechanisms of reducing cases of unauthorized access to user data, lack of proper knowledge and consent is the wrong target. Consent is very important, but its quality has long been brought to surface. Users are now aware that their formal consent becomes meaningless beyond its formal purpose.
Many users are now happy by the fact that the company failed to detect unauthorized access to their private information. However, this is not the first time such a thing is happening. It’s only that this time it happened on a large scale. In Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, in their 2008 book, “Nudge,” came up with the word “choice architecture.” The idea involves designing an environment that allows people to make decisions that influences the decisions that they make.
The Facebook- Cambridge Analytica fiasco, plus other indications that happened before it call for a new type of architecture which is personalized and uniquely designed to allow individual preferences and optimized to influence individual decisions. We are no longer the same zone of choice architecture that applies to all people.