Commentary: Facebook Break Up, I have to ask, what good will that do?


Commentary by MTSU Dr. Larry Burriss

Breaking Up Facebook

We’ve been hearing quite a bit lately about breaking up Facebook. So, I have to ask, what good will that do? The real problem here is who owns and what happens to data I divulge to companies which collect, aggregate and share this information without my permission. No matter what happens to Facebook, the data/information will still be there, and thus someone from the resulting company will have access to that information, and will be able to do with it what they wish, unless the laws regarding my information are changed.




My Information, my Permission?

I recently had surgery, and a doctor wanted to know if they could save any extra tissue for research purposes. He had a consent form spelling out, in detail, what would happen if I gave my permission. The important part, however, was I had to opt in to give the hospital permission to “access” my “information,” that is, tissue samples.
In addition, the form made it very clear I could opt out at any time, the tissue would then be disposed of, and the hospital would no longer have “access” to my “information.”
It seems the simple thing to do is for Facebook to be required to have users opt in, rather than opt out, which is the current default, before information could be used for other than routine internal auditing purposes. In no case could information be transferred to a third party without express permission from the user.

Opt-In v. Opt-Out: The Big Question for Consumer Privacy

In addition, Facebook should be required to tell us who they are sharing the data with. Again, the default should be opt in, not opt out.
Finally, since Facebook is making money from my data, maybe they should be required to share some of their money with me.

Larry Burriss, a professor in Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Mass Communication and president of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame, welcomes the crowd before the induction ceremonies at the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters conference in Murfreesboro for the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

After all, it is my information they are sharing, and numerous court cases have said information can be considered property, and thus subject to all sorts of laws regarding property, inheritance and sale.
All things considered, I want my cut of their profit from using my information.
I’m Larry Burriss.



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