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破解Facebook隐私乱局——对最有钱的用户收费

Alex Salkever 2018年04月18日

Facebook只是最新一代的社交网络。比群起攻之更有意思也更具挑战的是解决根本问题。

首先必须承认,我其实并不恨Facebook。原则上说,帮助人们联系并让沟通更容易的社交网络是个好主意,而且Facebook确实为人们做过一些非常好的事。比如说,看看药物测试公司就知道了。他们通过Facebook来寻找应征者,显著降低了这项重要工作的成本。

此外,“删掉Facebook”(#DeleteFacebook)行动搞错了重点。没有Facebook也会有别的产品。Facebook只是最新一代的社交网络。比群起攻之更有意思也更具挑战的是解决根本问题,再延伸点,还能借机将横跨各大网络平台的注意力经济拉入正轨。

从广义上讲,注意力经济是针对人们全天候注意力的市场。互联网、电视、社交媒体和广播都在争夺注意力。传统媒体很久以前就开始把注意力打包卖给广告主。社交媒体和搜索引擎的出现则带来了远比以前丰富的双向信息交流,这种交流既导致隐私面临泄露风险,也为用户网络生活的点滴细节创造出二级和三级市场。

我有一个主意可以解决Facebook的问题,就是给所有Facebook用户标价,并允许他们照价付款,从而不被追踪、不用参与某些活动也不受算法的干扰。以前就有过这样的建议,Facebook首席运营官谢丽尔·桑德伯格最近甚至提到了。关键在于用户的标价一定要有差别,而且要体现出用户对Facebook的价值。贫穷国家用户的价值将远低于富裕国家用户。

富裕用户对Facebook的价值可能超过贫困用户,因此可能要在此项服务上花更多的钱(我们知道Facebook很关心用户收入,因为广告主和推广人员已经可以根据估算用户收入选择目标)。这样做有可能形成一种浮动计费机制,从而或多或少地减少重要程度较低的用户成本。个人注意力经济指标将只用于本人。我们知道,在某种程度上Facebook内部已经在做这件事,把该指标称为“用户平均收入”。举个例子,在美国和加拿大,Facebook用户每季度产生的收入约为26美元,而在全球范围内,用户单季价值为6.18美元。

如此一来,整个注意力经济就变成了注意力和使用服务的明确交换,而且还可方便地选择退出。

如果不花钱又想继续用Facebook,基本上等于同意公开所有信息并放弃隐私权。甚至可以这么写出来,而且应该用大号字体标注在服务协议的条款中。这事应该做得明明白白,一步到位,不要拖泥带水。而且我们终于可以告别这个“歌舞伎剧场”,舞台上的Facebook还在假装关心用户隐私,因为时至今日,其业务模式的基础就是尽可能出售用户信息而不受惩罚。

此外,透明度将增强信任感,用户注意力也能变成真正的市场。该领域还可以结合其他立法措施加强隐私保护,比如弗吉尼亚州民主党参议员马克·华纳和马萨诸塞州民主党参议员伊丽莎白·沃伦建议强制企业向每位数据被盗用户赔偿50或100美元。而且,就像记者兼隐私专家朱莉娅·安格温所说,此举也可以协助改善美国隐私监管和定义。

不过,要点在于改变整个注意力经济,将其变成我们能看到、能理解的显性市场,而不是把用户当作商品的黑市。这样一来,我的建议对Equifax之类公司可能真的管用,因为以往悄然收集信息的服务商就得在用户知情的情况下获得许可,而且出售信息时都要披露价值。如果再加上Facebook正在采取的其他措施,隐私控制会更容易操作。

给Facebook上的隐私信息明码标价还有另一大好处,就是弄清楚人们是不是真的想用Facebook(以及注意力经济的其他服务)。如果不想付费但还想继续用Facebook,那么意图就很明显——他们是在钱包投票,表示并不非常看重自己的隐私。如果人们不想花钱,然后停止使用Facebook,结论同样清晰——意思是享受的服务没有隐私值钱。如果人们愿意付费并在没有追踪和广告的情况下继续使用Facebook,那就释放出了另一种信息——他们重视Facebook的服务,但也重视自己的隐私。一言以蔽之,我们可以大大提升用户需求和企业目标的一致性。为了让交易更负责任,Facebook(或其他任何服务商)每年都应向用户提供报告,详细说明信息如何出售,买家是谁,价格多少,然后用明确的警示信息和大号字体让用户确认下一年是否继续。

我们还可以再进一步,要求Facebook在所有广告和得到赞助的帖子上增设一个按钮,点击之后可以看到谁出了钱,买家在哪里以及为了让用户看到相关内容买家支付了多少费用。这或许会让某些人感到震惊,因为是他们会发现广告主推送时花费如此少。

在Facebook验证后,还可以轻松推广到谷歌、推特、Snapchat、Instagram和其他免费社交和搜索服务商等处。每家公司的用户都有权了解自己的注意力价值几何。

要明确的是,我的建议并不适合某些灰色领域。

以Cambridge Analytica为例,该机构其实是哄骗用户自愿向第三方应用提交数据。再比如,Facebook内部也许想要求付费用户开启面部识别功能,以便自动添加标签,而且有些用户可能确实愿意。这种情况下,政府也应该实施监管并惩罚Facebook(就像对未能执行隐私保护法规和服务条款的其他侵犯隐私行为进行罚款一样)。

作为通用社会原则,要求透明交易是一种健康的政策,也是正确的做法。暗箱操作掩盖了不公平和不道德的商业模式。通过一个又一个行业沦落的案例已经显示,情况确实如此。不道德的企业总想对终端用户隐瞒顾客、商品或服务的价值。社交网络和搜索引擎让情况稍稍改变,因为用户可以享受一些免费福利,但暗含的道德问题都一样。

我的结论是,如果经营模式依赖于出售用户的隐私数据,又不明确告知做法,企业从根本上就不可能真正重视用户的隐私。把所有操作亮出来,明确公开又简单。这将为新一代经营模式更健康的注意力经济企业打下基础,在结合业务模式和用户利益方面也能做得更好。(财富中文网)

亚历克斯·索克埃尔是一位作家、演说家,曾在Mozilla担任营销副总裁。他撰写了《无人驾驶汽车中的司机:技术选择怎样塑造未来》(The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future)一书。

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

I have a confession to make: I don’t actually hate Facebook. A social network that connects people and makes it easier to communicate is a nice idea in principle. And Facebook has already done some very good things for humanity. Just look at drug trial companies, for instance. They have used Facebook to find potential participants, slicing significant costs of this important endeavor.

Further, the #DeleteFacebook movement misses the point. Something will take its place. Facebook is only the latest generation of online social networks. More interesting and challenging than killing Facebook is fixing Facebook—and, by extension, fixing the entire attention economy across invasive online platforms.

The “attention economy,” broadly speaking, is the market for our attention span throughout the day. The Internet, television, social media, and radio all fight for our attention. Legacy mediums have long packaged and sold our attention to advertisers. But the advent of social media and search has ushered in much richer two-way transfers of information that have put our privacy at risk and also created secondary and tertiary markets for minute details of our online lives.

Here’s one idea on how to fix Facebook: Put a price on every single Facebook user and allow them to pay it to opt out of any tracking or any other activities or algorithmic interventions. That’s been suggested before, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg even recently addressed it. But here’s the twist: The prices must vary by individual user and will reflect the user’s actual value to Facebook. Users in poor countries will be worth a lot less than users in rich countries.

And rich users will likely be worth more to Facebook than poor users, so they would have to pay more to use the service (we know that Facebook cares about income distribution because it has offered the capability to advertisers and marketers to target by inferred income). This would create a sliding scale that would somewhat mitigate the cost to users of lesser means. Your personal attention economy number would be unique to you. We know Facebook is already doing this internally, to some degree. The company calls it “average revenue per user.” In the U.S. and Canada, for example, a Facebook user is worth about $26 per quarter of revenue. Globally, users are worth $6.18 per quarter.

This would make the entire attention economy an explicit exchange of our attention for services that we are using with an easy opt-out.

Those who won’t pay but want to keep using the service will basically agree to give up their information and cede rights to privacy. It should even be worded that way—and in large type on a terms of service agreement. This will happen explicitly and in one fell swoop, rather than drip, drip, drip. And we can get rid of this Kabuki theater of Facebook really caring about user privacy when its entire business model to date has been premised on selling as much information about users as it can get away with.

This transparency will start to build trust and create a real marketplace for our attention. It would also work in tandem with other legislative efforts to enforce privacy, like Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) proposal to force companies to pay $50 or $100 for each person whose data is stolen. Likewise, it would complement proposals for better regulations and definitions of privacy in the U.S., as laid out by journalist and privacy expert Julia Angwin.

The important point, however, is changing the entire attention economy by making it an explicit market that we can see and understand instead of a murky exchange where the users are the product. In this manner, what I propose could actually work for companies like Equifax—where services that surreptitiously collect information about us would have to receive our informed content and disclose our value whenever it sells our information. And it would build upon other ongoing Facebook efforts to make privacy controls easier to use.

Putting a transparent and personal price tag on Facebook privacy would also have the beautiful effect of making it clear whether people actually want Facebook (and other attention economy services). If no one wants to pay but they still want to keep using Facebook, then their intent becomes very obvious. People are voting with their wallets and saying that they don’t value their privacy very much. If people don’t want to pay and then stop using Facebook, it’s also obvious. They have said that the service is not worth the price of their privacy. If people want to pay and keep using Facebook sans tracking and ads, then that sends another message: that they value Facebook’s service but also value their privacy. In one stroke, we can create far better alignment between user needs and company goals. To make this transaction more accountable, once per year, Facebook (or any other service) will need to send to us a report of how our information was sold, who bought it, and for how much—and request an annual opt-in with the same caveats and large-print type.

We can take it one step further, as well, and mandate that Facebook have a button on every ad or every sponsored post that tells us who bought the post, where they are located, and how much they paid to put that post in front of our eyes. This might be shocking to some, mainly to see how little advertisers are paying to put things in front of us.

What applies to Facebook could easily apply to Google ), Twitter , Snapchat , Instagram, and other free social and search services. In every case, users should have the ability to know what their attention is worth.

To be clear, there are some gray areas that won’t fit perfectly into what I’m proposing.

In the case of Cambridge Analytica, for example, users were essentially tricked into willingly submitting their data to a third-party application. Internally, Facebook may want to ask paying users, for example, to turn on their facial recognition features in order to enable auto-tagging, and some users may like that idea. In this case, as well, government regulation should kick in and fine Facebook (just as it would fine other privacy violations that involve the failure to enforce privacy rules and terms of service).

As a general social principle, mandating transparency in transactions is a healthy policy—and it’s the right thing to do. Opacity hides unfairness and business models that are unethical. In sector after sector, this has been shown to be true. Unethical businesses seek to hide the value of a customer, a good, or a service from the end user. The situation is slightly flipped with social and search, where users are getting something for free but the ethics remain the same.

The bottom line is this: It is fundamentally impossible to build a business that puts users’ privacy first when the business model depends on selling private data about those users without making this practice obvious or explicit. Make everything explicit, obvious, and open—and keep it simple. This will pave the way for a healthier generation of attention economy businesses that will have far better alignment between their business models and their users’ interests.

Alex Salkever is an author, public speaker, and former vice president of marketing at Mozilla. He is also author of The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future.

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