Is Sen. Franken wasting his time?

by Aaron Carlson

IâÄôd like to write today to commend Senator FrankenâÄôs as well as the other SenatorsâÄô efforts to fight for the majority of Facebook users. As a Facebook user, I have felt increasingly wary of participation due to its ever increasing use of our personal information for their business purposes. For those of you that remember, in 2008 there was a large backlash between Facebook and its users over the privacy agreement in respect to the deletion as well as distribution of information. Groups were formed with millions of people concerned over whether 10 years down the road their face from a long ago posted picture would find its way onto the side of a bus. I was one of these concerned users. I joined the groups as a form of protest over FacebookâÄôs unilateral exertion of power. In the end Facebook openly consulted its users. I canâÄôt say IâÄôve seen the same this time around. That said, we are now faced with another unilateral exertion of power by Facebook that has the potential to hurt members of the user community. Recently Facebook has changed its dissemination of information clause in its privacy policy from an opt-in system to an opt-out system. As of now, Facebook is actively sharing your personal information with three sites: Pandora, Microsoft, and Yelp. LetâÄôs all be clear, Facebook has rendered your personal information to third party sites. I for one have not agreed to this prior to its institution. Perhaps I have contractually in some long winded user agreement, but not consciously. Some may argue that Facebook should be allowed to do whatever it pleases given its status as a for-profit enterprise. Please, take a moment and entertain with me the notion that FacebookâÄôs business is not mutually exclusive from its product. LetâÄôs ask ourselves, can Facebook as a company exist without its community? The answer is no. It cannot. LetâÄôs ask the other question: Can the community exist without FacebookâÄôs company? The answer is yes. Logically, Facebook should place priority on the community, but this has not been the case as of late. This is why government must protect the community. Now, I enjoy Facebook as much as the next person, so please donâÄôt write this off as some rant about change. All I want to suggest is that benevolent capitalism isnâÄôt such a bad idea, especially when it intercedes with the privacy of near an entire generation. LetâÄôs support Senator Franken. Take the time to call his office in D.C. and say “thank you.” Aaron Carlson University undergraduate student