As Facebook undergoes an onslaught of criticism for its practices, questions surrounding the launch of its Libra digital currency continues to mount. Given that cryptocurrencies have been designed to circumvent the problem of trust, can Facebook do anything to overcome its issues relating to privacy?
The furor over Facebook and its exploitation of user data has far from subsided, and not many days go by without media outlets covering the tense relationship between Facebook, authorities, and its users. The social media giant, which is planning to release its own digital currency next year, has much to answer for.
In a world where data is considered the most valuable resource one has to offer, Facebook stands as a gold mine for malicious agents — an issue that could become exponentially larger if the social media titan decides to enter the finance space.
Facebook’s Relationship with the Public is Damning
Facebook, as well as many other tech giants, have a long and suspicious history with the use of the data in their hands. Data collection is pivotal for the growth of the majority of Facebook’s revenues. The total sum raised is in the hundreds of billions. The European Commission is now looking into both Google and Facebook, with respect to how they use and monetize this data.
Earlier this year, Facebook was fined a record $5 billion over breaches in privacy and was certainly not the first of such cases.
The outrage has become such a point of contention for the company that they have gone to the extent of releasing a chatbot, called ‘Liam Bot,’ that helps employees deal with difficult questions that may be posed to them by friends and family over the holidays, as reported by the New York Times.
If a company must go to such extreme lengths to protect its reputation, then one must really question its intentions and operations.
Facebook’s Employees Show Little Trust in the Company
It is not just the general public that appears to be showing an increasing distrust for Facebook – the social media giant’s own employees seem to feel that way.
While banks themselves are far from entirely accepted by the public, in contrast with tech companies like Facebook, they appear much more favorable. An anonymous professional network, Team Blind, conducted a survey on this very question, and 62% of professionals answered that they trusted banks more than they did big tech companies.
Respondents were also asked which big tech company they would most trust with their financial data, and Facebook came in at the bottom, just above of Uber, at a mere 2.17%. Apple was the runaway leader with 44.45%.
Similarly, Facebook employees showed little trust in their own company, with only 21.78% saying that they trusted the internal handling of financial data.
Libra Will Never Succeed in its Current State
In the context of all of this lack of trust, Facebook has decided to enter the finance industry, and it has already received flak from both the cryptocurrency community and global authorities. Facebook has long since harbored ambitions to enter this space, with patents granted in 2013 pointing to this.
Several lawmakers have said that Libra should be stopped, as it would give the company far too much influence iv the world’s economy.
Besides there being very little trust in Facebook as a company, Libra rubs salt in the wound as it will generate revenue through advertising — although Facebook has said the data will remain safe. That doesn’t seem to have stopped it from continuing to press on with Libra even following the departure of several key members of the Libra Association.