Facebook users would have to pay to opt out of ads, Sheryl Sandberg says
There is a popular saying that goes like this: “If you’re not paying for a product; you’re the product.” That is exactly the situation with Facebook and its users. In a sit-down interview with NBC, Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg said that Facebook would look like a pay service without data-targeted ads. “While Facebook does not sell users’ information or give it away, Sandberg said, “our service depends on your data.”
After the interview, a part of which first aired Thursday, Facebook later clarified that the company does not plan to start charging its 2 billion users. The social media giant said Sandberg was only speaking in hypothetical terms. Advertising is the lifeblood of Facebook. 98 percent of Facebook revenue comes from advertisement. Facebook ad revenue has been growing since 2009, with revenue of $764 million to $39.94 billion in 2017, according to the data compiled by research firm, Statista.
In the wake of Facebook data scandal, Sandberg also admitted the possibility that additional breaches in personal information could be discovered by current company audits prompted by Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of user data. In a separate discussion, she also told The Financial Times that Facebook still didn’t know how much user data Cambridge Analytica still held.
Things are getting worse for Facebook. Facebook users will be terrified to learn that Facebook reportedly reached out to several major U.S. hospitals to share anonymous data about their patients, such as illnesses and prescription info, for a proposed research project. As major news outlets reported, Facebook sent a doctor on a secret mission to ask hospitals to share patient data. The goal of the research was that Facebook intended to match patients’ data up with Facebook’s user profile data it had collected. It is too early to know if Facebook is breaking the data privacy law.
In response to the news, Facebook provided a quote from Cathleen Gates, the interim CEO of the American College of Cardiology, explaining the possible benefits of the plan:
“For the first time in history, people are sharing information about themselves online in ways that may help determine how to improve their health. As part of its mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health, the American College of Cardiology has been engaged in discussions with Facebook around the use of anonymized Facebook data, coupled with anonymized ACC data, to further scientific research on the ways social media can aid in the prevention and treatment of heart disease—the #1 cause of death in the world. This partnership is in the very early phases as we work on both sides to ensure privacy, transparency and scientific rigor. No data has been shared between any parties.”