Advocacy Groups Launch Initiative to ‘Stop’ Facebook

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Advocacy Groups Launch Initiative to ‘Stop’ Facebook
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Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

As Facebook weathers an ongoing PR shitstorm composed of various interlocking crises, a number of public advocacy groups have launched a website that asks Americans to help put the screws to the tech giant.

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Aptly called HowToStopFacebook.Org, the website accuses FB’s algorithms of “hurting our kids, undermining democracy in the U.S. and globally, and exacerbating discrimination.” Supported by groups like Fight for the Future, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and dozens of others, the site references many of the talking points recently made by Frances Haugen, a former FB employee turned whistleblower who recently appeared on 60 Minutes and then in front of Congress to discuss the ways in which her former employer is hurting Americans—particularly children.

So how do we all, uh, stop that from happening? The groups suggest that we rely on Congress to pass a “real data privacy law”—one that makes it “illegal for companies like Facebook and YouTube to collect the massive amount of data they need to power their algorithms.” The website provides a signup sheet that gives visitors the opportunity to show their support for the initiative.

On its face, a federal data privacy law is a good idea—and something people have been talking about for awhile. However, such an undertaking isn’t exactly a simple process and certainly not without risks. For one thing, the primary cheerleaders for a federal privacy law over the past few years have been giant tech companies—the very entities such a law would be designed to regulate. Why? Privacy advocates argue that such a law would give businesses the opportunity to do what they do best: sic armies of lobbyists on Washington to co-opt regulations and turn them in their favor.

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