It was a small but passionate group at the entrance to Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters midday Thursday. Armed with signs demanding, “Facebook transparency now” and Facebook-esque “dislike” signs, a handful of privacy activists spoke out about the social media giant’s recent data scandal.
One woman was in full wizard garb with a sign that read: “Facebook privacy settings should not need a computer wizard.”
The roughly half-dozen protesters from the activist group Raging Grannies gathered fittingly at Facebook’s massive “Like” sign before Facebook security moved the group across the street. At the entrance to the massive company the organizers talked about privacy concerns on the platform in light of the Cambridge Analytica data sharing mess.
The group called for better online protection and privacy rights. “Privacy should be the default setting,” the protesters called out after singing some advice to the $465 billion company. The grannies visited Facebook HQ back in 2010 with similar demands.
Organizer Ruth Robertson said just the night before she had to have a grandchild help her find her privacy settings.
Electronic Frontier Foundation grassroots advocacy organizer Nathan Sheard was supporting the “grannies” and agreed that “Facebook has a responsibility to its users.” He said people like Robertson shouldn’t have to have a degree in computer science to keep their data secure.
“By default their info should be kept secure,” he said, adding that social platforms need to respect its users. For some people Facebook is a huge part of their lives or a main communication tool. As the movement to #DeleteFacebook grows in backlash to the data scandal it’s not something everyone can do.
As Robertson conceded, the platform connects her to her family. She doesn’t want Facebook to disappear, but to treat its users better.
Fellow protester Gail Sredanovic said she was out there because “Facebook has for a number of years been tracking its users and making money off their data.”
In a press call Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We didn’t do enough. We didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse … that goes for fake news, foreign interference in election, hate speech, in addition to developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view and that was a huge mistake.”
The grannies and other online activists are carefully watching if Zuckerberg does anything about this “huge mistake.”