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Why It Hurts When Facebook Rebels

In my book, The Billion Dollar Byte, I advise traditional Fortune 500 companies to emulate the data practices of “digital natives”, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. These companies are not saddled by legacy burdens, unlike those companies that have been founded hundreds of years ago. On the contrary they have gained, an undue advantage through their superior use of data.

However, in March 2018 Facebook started to face questions regarding its handling of data, following reports that research firm Cambridge Analytica improperly gained access to the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users.

This is unfortunate and disappointing. Especially, as Facebook has played a vital role in shaping our “digital age”, as we now know, today. I personally, am a big fan of these pioneering companies. It’s never easy for them. But, they certainly are doing their best to make this a better world (I hope!).

Everything is not lost for Facebook, though. It just has to get back to ‘the basics, of managing their billion-dollar byte’.

Let’s put this scenario to test using a model that I articulate in the 2017 American Book Fest finalist, The Billion Dollar Byte.

Yes, Facebook is certainly on the other side of the chasm of divide which traditional companies need to get past.  However, as a digital native, Facebook has chosen to be a “rebel” by ignoring the basics of its data management policy. Without knowing much about the details of the internal processes itself, I can conclude that the events that unfolded could be attributed to a lack of ‘process discipline’. Yes, Facebook probably has a documented policy but their internal process lapses in ensuring compliance to that policy has resulted in the unfortunate events of a business actor accessing data that should not be. And in the process, the billion-dollar byte, is at risk. WE are at risk. The digital age is at risk.

Ouch!!! It hurts…

Not just Facebook. It hurts all of us aspiring to evolve into the digital age.

But, let’s not loose heart. The good news is that businesses that stick with the basics, will WIN! No exceptions. Also, let’s not forget that WE the users of Facebook are equal partners in it’s evolution.

If Facebook’s processes had the necessary checks and balances in place, we probably would not have the need for a fascinating pioneer like Mark Zuckerberg face embarrassing questions from the members of congress.

All the best Mark! Be honest. Be yourself. Everything else, will fall in place.