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Privacy in the Age of Social Media Essay

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Updated: Dec 26th, 2020


The violation of the personal data security conditions in the media space is fraught with serious public resonance, and Facebook’s example is the confirmation of this fact. According to Leetaru (2018), the world-famous social network did not pay enough attention to ensuring the safety of private user data, which caused a scandal. In this regard, there is a need to consider corresponding approaches governing the activities of innovative companies, namely, fundamentalist and protectionist strategies.


When considering the concept of market fundamentalism, it can be noted that it implies limiting the state influence on the work of the internal system of the commodity-money relationships. As Leicht (2016) remarks, this strategy does not rely on any political ideology and does not depend on the current status of order in the country. This position is supported by Ötsch and Pühringer (2017) who also describe market fundamentalism as the concept that contradicts everything related to governing trends and movements.

Regarding the Facebook case, the authors might agree that the social network’s operational scheme does not go beyond the law, and the requirements to revise the current corporate policy are baseless (Leicht, 2016; Ötsch & Pühringer, 2017). This approach is typical for this strategy and emphasizes its liberal nature.

The concept of protectionism differs from the aforementioned model significantly. Kramer, Guillory, and Hancock (2014) support this strategy and argue that the protection of personal data is the observance of moral norms and social relations. Granville (2018) notes that this approach should be one of the key methods in the modern world where data privacy is sometimes the primary goal of users. In the Facebook case, the representatives of both studies would certainly condemn the approach of the social network and would be on the side of those who adhere to the government intervention in this issue.

The Facebook case was high-profile due to the fact that a large number of people were involved in the scandal. According to Granville (2018), without the consent of users, the representatives of this social network provided the data to the political firm Cambridge Analytica and did not receive the formal agreement from those whose information was used. Regarding official protection protocols, this situation is unacceptable since the official rights of one of the parties are violated (CPHS, 2017). The pursuit of innovation in the digital sphere involves improving the rules for working with personal data. However, the absence of any response from Facebook to mass discontent further increased the degree of conflict, and the publication of the test results was a real shock to millions of users.

While considering this scandal in the context of a fundamentalist approach, Facebook acted according to its personal interests and gained valuable benefits from its collaboration with Cambridge Analytica. As Leicht (2016) remarks, organizational innovations involve expanding the sphere of influence, and working with the personal data of users allowed the social network to achieve significant profits.

Such a strategy is based solely on the interests of one party, and the desire to separate society from the market is the typical feature of the fundamentalist concept. Therefore, with regard to the situation of Facebook, this strategy justifies itself as an attempt at the corporation’s natural development and gaining free access to market opportunities.

In the context of the protectionist approach to the case considered, the situation is the vivid reflection of the unacceptable behavior of the social network’s managers in relation to users. Regardless of whether the transfer of data was voluntary or a hacker attack took place, measures should be taken regarding safety standards. According to Leetaru (2018), this case demonstrates that even in such a large corporation, there are gaps in ensuring the security of user data, and innovations in this area are necessary. Engaging the authorities is the logical outcome of Facebook’s egoistic attitude, and changes are to be made to strengthen the security interface and develop a new protective algorithm.


Based on the provided information, the protectionist position regarding the scandal looks the most appropriate. In case this serious violation is not taken into account by the relevant authorities, the situation may recur. Moreover, in accordance with the current legislation, no reason can justify the absence of users’ consent to transfer their information to third parties. The state participation in this conflict will not harm the innovative course of development but, on the contrary, will accelerate it. Therefore, the protectionist strategy is a reasonable approach to solve this problem and provide safety to the private data of Facebook users.


Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS). (2017). . Web.

Granville, K. (2018). . The New York Times. Web.

Kramer, A. D., Guillory, J. E., & Hancock, J. T. (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(24), 8788-8790. Web.

Leetaru, K. (2018). . Forbes. Web.

Leicht, K. T. (2016). Market fundamentalism, cultural fragmentation, post-modern skepticism, and the future of professional work. Journal of Professions and Organization, 3(1), 103-117. Web.

Ötsch, W. O., & Pühringer, S. (2017). Right-wing populism and market-fundamentalism. Journal of Language and Politics, 16(4), 497-509. Web.

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