argument top image

Should we boycott Facebook because of Cambridge Analytica?
Back to question

Facebook is a Utility

Just like power and water, it's time to have the government take ownership for the public good.


The Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in 2018 when it was leaked that the company had collected personal data from over 87 million Facebook users to conceive multitargeted campaign strategies for their clients like the 2016 Leave campaign for Brexit or the election of Donald Trump in the US. Ever since, concerns about data protection and democratic manipulation have been voiced by the respective publics.

The Argument

Facebook has turned into a public utility and thus it should be subject to government regulation. As the Cambridge Analytica scandal has shown, the public is mostly not informed on how their personal data is used by Facebook and sold to third parties like Cambridge Analytica that use it for controversial purposes like microtargeted political campaigning. Today, a higher degree of transparency and accountability is needed for platforms like Facebook to operate. As the recent attempts of Facebook to reform and develop itself were rather unsuccessful and the Senate hearings of CEO Mark Zuckerberg were not conclusive, it seems as though the government is the only entity that can assure binding regulation and the respect of certain norms. Therefore, the government of the United States in which the company is registered, should produce legislation that forces social media platforms like Facebook to make their use of personal data more transparent and subject to a certain set of values. This would mean that the use for political campaigning as propagated by Cambridge Analytica would be regulated in the same way as traditional campaigning follows certain rules. Furthermore, if data processing norms are uniformized and controlled by the government, it would be easier for users to detect misuse and feel more protected on platforms like Facebook.

Counter arguments

1) The government shouldn’t be the entity regulating private companies. In a liberal economy, the market should be able to regulate itself without government intervention. The legislative process takes too long to account for the quick pace of change that social media platforms are subject to. 2) Regulation would make international competition fiercer.



Government intervention is the right measure to ensure Facebook follows stricter data protection rules.


[P1] Government intervention is better in regulating the market than a free market.

Rejecting the premises

[P1] The free market regulates itself through the invisible hand.


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 24 Jun 2020 at 12:27 UTC

Explore related arguments