Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak called for regulations that would ensure Facebook has competition
Facebook and other internet companies went through an “ethical lapse” by providing huge amount of user’s personal information to advertisers, according to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Speaking at Mastercard’s ‘Connecting Tomorrow’ event in Barcelona last week, Wozniak said he believes Facebook is emblematic of a “big problem” of ethics among tech companies.
“When Facebook started in a dorm, it was a great idea, a way to have communication with your friends and share things,” he said. “But later, to monetise it, they decided to learn everything about everyone and drive advertisers to them to make their money. To me, it’s a real ethical lapse.”
Wozniak’s comments came just days before it was revealed that up to 50 million Facebook accounts were breached by hackers. Although the company has said it is unsure of whether the accounts were actually misused, CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the case “is a serious issue.”
At the event last week, Wozniak said he largely doesn’t believe that Facebook will take significant steps to remedy concerns about user privacy, “because the trouble is that the shareholders and wanting to make money always comes first.”
“It would be nice if we had competition. Big companies today have the power to be monopolies…so Facebook doesn’t have much of a worry. If something looks important, they can always buy it out,” he said. “It would be nice if they were required to allow competition.”
Additionally, Wozniak advocated a model in which users can pay to use and access different individual features of Facebook, or pay for complete privacy.
“But I don’t have a choice,” he added. “Regulation could do a lot to make it a competitive world, in which you go to Facebook because they’re the best and do a better job.”
In April, Wozniak announced his intention to deactivate his Facebook account because of how the company handles private user information, adding that the platform brought him “more negatives than positives.”