Reporting on Facebook and GDPR

Reporting on privacy activist Max Schrems, Facebook, and the GDPR.

In this piece by Techdirt, Glyn Moody covers an ongoing battle between longtime German privacy activist Max Schrems and the tech behemoth, and how he’s uniquely positioned to hold them to account.

Initially touted by Mark Zuckerberg as “a completely new way of advertising online”, the service would use Facebook’s page building, social graph, and associated feature sets to help marketers engage with potential customers, generate trusted referrals through friend networks, and be accessible for smaller brands without the hefty budgets needed to market through traditional channels.
Seems fair enough at first glance, and in their November 6, 2007 press release Facebook went as far as to state:

While its origin story has been formally dramatized (and many times lionized), Facebook’s use case, business model and scale have been more a transmogrification than evolution. While in many ways benign and offering some tangible value for their seminal collegiate user base, it was the following hyper-growth years (and associate venture capital injections) that began to divine the platform’s current state.

Oh, how things have changed.

Twelve years, a few hundred million users, countless terms of service updates, and one IPO later Facebook’s ad platform has turned into an unwieldy, weaponized, and many times lawless space where everyone from foreign governments to multinational organizations can access user data (both personal, geographic and high level demographic) effectively unbeknownst to the user.

In short, a textbook Frogboil.

While Zuckerberg and co have more recently come under international scrutiny from lawmakers, industry leaders and the general public due to their mishandling of user data in the 2016 US elections, the recent GDPR regulations put forth in the EU have proven to be an effective foil for some of their more unsavory data mining tactics.

Facebook Claims Users Sign Up Because They Want To See Personalized Ads, Max Schrems Disagrees -- And Usually Wins These GDPR Arguments
The privacy activist Max Schrems has been conducting a battle on multiple fronts against Facebook’s use of personal data. Last year, Techdirt wrote about one of the skirmishes, which saw the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the...