Examining Facebook and the case for privacy

What happens when a major social media platform's business model abuses user trust?

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  • Facebook has been in plenty of hot water lately with user data scandal.
  • Columbia Business School professor Rita Gunther McGrath says the early warning signs were there when considering the social media platform's business model and attitude toward user privacy.
  • When users don't understand the extent of content ownership, and the platform they're using is willing to abuse that trust, a lot can go wrong.
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Sink or swim: How to survive waves of change in a fast-paced industry

Here's how to best position yourself for taking advantage of the unexpected.

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  • Why are companies like Apple on top of the world while others like Blackberry have been relegated to a minor market share? Why is Netflix king and Blockbuster extinct? Netflix spotted a strategic inflection point and capitalized on it, says Rita Gunther McGrath.
  • A strategic inflection point is a shift in the external environment that changes the assumptions upon which a business is based—it could be technology, social norms, or a company's reputation.
  • People and organizations who see inflection points early and respond to them with a small investment or an experiment have an advantage. They will swim while their competitors may sink.
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Inflection points: How to see when the economy is about to shift

It's hard to see big changes coming, but if you know your own blindspots, you can do it.

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  • Predicting broad economic change requires knowing why people typically fail to.
  • Pay attention to where talent is going and you'll get a sense for where the market is headed.
  • It's why business graduates have ditched Wall Street to go and work at Amazon.


Who is getting rich off you? The insidious big data economy.

Where is your data now? Follow the money.

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  • Your day to day actions on the Internet give businesses personal data that turns you into an ad target – or the opposite.
  • Facebook, for example, allowed landlords to block demographic groups such as African Americans, LGBTQ, or disabled people from seeing housing ads – a violation of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
  • Data brokers have crossed a line, but the laws that should regulate them are outdated; just look at the billion-dollar data deal between 23andMe and Big Pharma. Is it ethical?
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