Facebook, the social media giant, is going through rough days after the Cambridge Analytica scandal came into light, where the data of 87 million Facebook users was compromised. Following the data leak, Facebook has simplified the terms of service and data policy. Now, in an interview with NBC News, the company’s COO Sheryl Sandberg said that Facebook users would have to pay to opt out of their data being used for targeted ads.
When asked if there is a tool to restrict Facebook from using user profiles, Sandberg said there are “different forms of opt out” but there isn’t one button for everything. “We don’t have an opt-out at the highest level. That would be a paid product,” Sandberg told NBC.
After the data scandal was confirmed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to users for Facebook’s role, and he will also testify in front of US Congress on April 11. Zuckerberg has also been summoned to appear before the European Union and the lawmakers in the UK.
Data of millions of users was leaked from a quiz app that collected data of Facebook users, and their friends, and it was passed on to Cambridge Analytica. When Facebook learned about data being collected without consent, the social media giant banned the app in 2015, and even after getting assurances from Cambridge Analytica that the data was deleted, reports suggest otherwise.
Sandberg acknowledged that it was Facebook’s mistake as it did not check if the data was properly erased. “We had legal assurances from them that they deleted. What we didn’t do was the next step of an audit and we are trying to do that now,” she told NBC News.
In another interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, Sandberg said that Facebook doesn’t know if companies other than Cambridge Analytica exploited users’ private data without consent. But she did say “as we find those, we’re going to notify people.”
From what it appears, there is no indication about Facebook planning to introduce such an opt-out option. It is also clear that Facebook’s revenue depends on monitoring user behavior and their likes and dislikes. Taking that option away would not only mean that Facebook will be losing out on ad revenues, but the company will also have to introduce a subscription model for users to use the service.