Kailey James, Staff Writer
Billionaire and founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress this week. This was all caused by the invasion of user data by Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked with the Trump campaign. Zuckerberg sat in front of congress for two days and answered their questions for a total of 10 hours. Zuckerberg was there to defend Facebook and to present ways through which Facebook is working to protect user data.
As almost 100 lawmakers asked him questions about this platform, it was evident they were not all educated on this technology. One representative even got Zuckerberg’s name wrong, calling him “Mr. Zuckerman.” Zuckerberg was asked how he was making money off a free app. To almost anyone, that question is laughable; they sell advertisements. While not all of the questions asked were this amusing, it seemed to many that this topic may just have been out of the realm for many of the lawmakers.
All of this said, this whole situation could be applied to our society. This is an important situation. For example, Facebook users’ data have been misused, and Facebook was used to rig the 2016 election. This is all very serious. People value their privacy and are upset about their personal data being treated like this. With the weight of this situation on over 2 billion people on Facebook, we should have people who are highly educated on the topic of data, applications and everything technology. Instead, we have these people who didn’t have cell phones growing up. This does not mean all of the senators and representatives were unqualified to ask Zuckerberg questions. I also understand these are lawmakers and that they are looking into what regulations they could pass to protect user data.
I think this example is reflective of government today and how the people representing us may either not have our best interest or simply not know how to correctly represent. Another example we all know too well is Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education. A little background on Betsy is that she grew up wealthy, favors charter schools and specializes in business rather than education. DeVos is not an educator or an education leader. With increasing problems with public education and schools across the country, we should look to DeVos to push for change. Instead, she proves to be uneducated on the topic and change nothing.
While the Secretary of Education and the safety of users’ data on Facebook are much different, the metaphor within could be similar. We have people who are supposed to representing us and are not all completely qualified to do so. Whether it is the education system or our private data, we should be having the best people to serve us.
This article first appeared in the Friday, April 20 edition of The Echo.