Facebook and Google probably know more than you think

Photo: Shock, Bigstock

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an investigation into Facebook over privacy concerns.

The organization’s president, Rod Sims, says he believes online giants like Google and Facebook probably have a lot more private information about its users than people might suspect.

The federal government has informed the ACCC to launch an investigation into user privacy in what is said to be the largest and most diverse investigation into online privacy in the world. Mr Sims also said that if he revealed how much private information the tech giants have, widespread concern could arise.

The committee investigates a number of matters in the aforementioned investigation;

  • Whether tech giants like Facebook, Google and others have abused their market power
  • The effect of the choice and quality of news displayed on user feeds
  • What information do they get about users and whether this is done in a transparent way?

Mr Sims says that while he doesn’t currently have a Facebook account, he plans to create one and will ask users about their perceived level of privacy and what they think online platforms know about them. This will be used to compare with the actual knowledge levels of these companies.

He said that while people say they “know what’s going on and don’t care,” he believes that when people find out exactly what these companies know about them, “people will be concerned. Most people are reasonable.” privately.”

Mr Sims believes that one of the problems may be that many people don’t realize that platforms like Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp are all owned by Facebook.

He said these big tech companies are “very good at buying up” companies that have the potential to be their rivals.

This is one of the main issues and MR Sims said competition regulators should be much more aware of any further potential acquisitions of smaller companies and start-ups.

Sims said the ACCC would look at other major companies, but wouldn’t name which ones specifically.

The ACCC also claims that they have spoken with many other major competition regulation organizations around the world and provided input to the investigation.

The combined stock market value of Google and Facebook is approximately $1.6 trillion.

On Monday, the ACCC will publish an “issues paper” as part of the investigation.

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