The Straits Times says

Facebook can't be left to own devices

Like every technology company that has faced runaway success, Facebook Inc has its share of detractors. Others, however, use its platform obsessively to keep track of friends, communicate to the world, and keep abreast of people and events that interest them. This community-building, in essence, is the business model of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. In other words, Facebook has both "friends" and those who have "unfriended" it as deliberate policy. China, the world's most populous nation, doesn't permit its people to access it, while India, the second most populous, embraces it.

Recent developments, however, have led to searching questions about the company that soaks up some US$40 billion (S$52 billion) in advertising alone, not to speak of the other ways it monetises the data coursing through its electronic veins. Topping the list of concerns is how Cambridge Analytica accessed the accounts of 87 million users to help boost US President Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Russian agents allegedly also used the platform to influence the election outcome. Other issues include its handling of hate speech and potential terror activities. In a leaked 2016 internal memo, a Facebook vice-president voiced concern that in its zeal to connect people, Facebook was ignoring safety concerns such as a terror attack coordinated on its tools.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2018, with the headline 'Facebook can't be left to own devices'. Print Edition | Subscribe