Go ahead and #DeleteFacebook. But here’s the change we really need.

[Commentary] A storm dubbed #DeleteFacebook is brewing in techie communities, on Twitter and — irony alert — on Facebook. The idea is this time is different from all the other times the social network has violated our trust. There have been many calls to boycott Facebook for past indiscretions. If we want the result to be any different this time, we need to address the broader problem. Aside from a dramatic change of heart from founder Mark Zuckerberg, getting Facebook to reform what data it collects and how it uses it requires destabilizing its business. And that boils down to this: Making Facebook an unreliable or expensive way for marketers to reach us. Option A: advertisers leave en masse. Option B is more of a hammer: If governments force Facebook to change the way it uses data, advertisers may become less enamored with Facebook just because it won’t be as effective. The regulation question is: What exactly should change? There will be many ideas floated in the months ahead.

[Fowler is The Washington Post’s technology columnist based in San Francisco]


Go ahead and #DeleteFacebook. But here’s the change we really need.