Dragana Kaurin and Anne Ahola Ward on Facebook and PrivacyDec 13, 2021
When problems occur in society, they tend to affect "people who have less power," said Dragana Kaurin, Founder of the Localization Lab.
Dragana joined Anne Ahola Ward, futurist and CEO of CircleClick, on this week's episode of Priv8. Together, they spoke with Orchid's Derek Silva about the biggest privacy and technology stories of 2021, including many of the issues surrounding Facebook's ongoing user privacy missteps.
People in marginalized groups are more susceptible to privacy threats, said Dragana. "For instance, the privacy threats that Facebook poses to its users affect people in developing countries far, far more."
Facebook's issues extend beyond privacy, particularly when it comes to groups of people in cultural and linguistic minorities. "These groups have far fewer protections, and fewer language experts that can do content moderation," she said.
"Services like Facebook are designed to work for white or white-passing people in the United States who speak English. That's problematic because if tech companies really want to make their platforms available to a global audience, they must focus on under-represented languages.
"Until then, people in these groups have to 'squeeze themselves through a keyhole' to be able to access this online world that everyone else can access so easily. It's a design issue—but it also demonstrates a lack of political will. Issues like these have deepened the social divide in power dynamics—not just within the United States, but among people everywhere."
Anne noted that Facebook's unsavory privacy practices have been catching up with its public image—and that the company is trying to do something about it. "I think that if the name change to 'Meta' taught us anything, it's that even Facebook hates Facebook."
This isn't the first time Facebook has attempted to clean up its public image. "For a while, they put Sheryl Sandberg at the front of the company. She was everywhere—and then she was nowhere," Anne said.
"I don't know what that was about—maybe an attempt to change Facebook's leadership. But I do think there are quite a few people who will not accept that there's been any meaningful change until Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg falls on his sword.
"You can form all the advisory boards and pay all the consultants you want. But until change comes from the top, I don't think most people will believe it's going to happen."
You can listen to Derek's entire conversation with Anne and Dragana here. And don't forget to subscribe to Priv8 on your favorite streaming service.