Another day, another privacy defalcation by Facebook, so what else is new? Yes, once again Facebook is facing allegations that its staff has crossed another privacy line in the sand. San Francisco’s social media giant just cannot get out of its own way, when it comes to its two billion plus customers across the globe. If this is the case with Libra’s parent and originating corporation, how will its global base of customers ever give the innovative program its trust? Crypto observers now wonder if Libra is “dead walking”.
Facebook has confirmed that it has been transcribing for quite a bit of time the conversations of its customers, while they were using its messenger service. The only reason given for performing such transcriptions was “for the sole purpose of making sure the transcription application was performing properly”. Come again? If it were working improperly, then FB would certainly fix the problem, but then what would the company do with that information? Also adding to the murkiness of the transcription process was that it was outsourced to an independent third party, the same overriding issue that was pervasive in its last privacy transgression.
It appears that thoughts of Cambridge Analytica may still be fresh in everyone’s minds. Facebook had admitted in the past that it had sold the private data of its users to this firm solely for advertising purposes to enhance the bottom line. Although unrelated, Facebook has also taken a great deal of heat for not monitoring the content of its ads, thereby allowing Russian intermediaries to interfere in elections and cause deliberate misrepresentations in quasi-news content. It has been ordered to step up its monitoring procedures, but to do so could cause the dreaded online oversight of private matters.
U.S. Congressmen and a host of government officials across the globe recently lambasted the media giant and its Libra project, but most of these derisive diatribes could be attributed to fear of more privacy misgivings and a lack of understanding of the project’s underpinnings. Crypto zealots, on the other hand, believe in Libertarian principles of privacy, freedom, and the lack of “Big Brother” peering over anyone’s shoulder. How will Libra promoters ever regain the trust of the crypto community, when Facebook is looming in the background, driven by its profit motive and greed?
In a word, the distrust of Facebook and its minions is now “legendary”. The first question is are there other privacy violations that remain hidden? Has the recent hullabaloo been just the tip of the iceberg? Will there be another privacy breach next week or soon thereafter? As the folks over at CCN have quipped:
Just when it seems like an issue has been aired, or cleared, another one pops up like Whack-a-Mole.
Facebook and Libra have gone a long way to increase the public’s awareness of all things crypto, even if the press has been mixed. If this new ethics transgression gets louder in the weeks to come, will crypto suffer, and will the Libra project be scuttled? The more light that has been cast upon Libra, the more it looks like anything but a form of cryptocurrency. It is centrally controlled by a consortium of handpicked corporate entities that will profit handsomely from investing resulting float monies. Congress is already concerned, perhaps, driven by their fear of Fintech companies, but the general public does not trust corporations as a rule. How will Libra acquire and retain its trust?
Ed Butowsky, Managing Partner at Chapwood Capital Investment Management, told CCN that:
System control requires user trust. From gold rush sellers to today’s gold – buying stores, systems to weigh gold have been transparent and trusted. No such transparency exists for Libra. Transparency and Facebook are mutually exclusive. Libra will consequently face big trust challenges.