Facebook's recent privacy controversies stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal unveiled last month could spell bad news for Google, some industry watchers are speculating. With Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly referencing the Mountain View, California-based tech giant during his congressional hearings held on Tuesday and Wednesday as a well-known example of a company whose business model is similar to that of the world's largest social media network, some Google executives may soon find themselves grilled by members of the U.S. Congress as well. Stateside lawmakers initially considered the idea of having Google officials testify on the Silicon Valley's data collection and management practices as part of hearings organized in response to Facebook's recent issues but ultimately decided against the idea.
The Cambridge Analytica episode and the attention it drew to the ad-supported business model of the vast majority of the Internet's most popular services is still likely to result in stricter laws regulating user data management and collection, according to some industry watchers. Jedidiah Yueh, founder and Executive Chairman of data technology firm Delphix whose list of clients included Facebook, told AndroidHeadlines that harsher regulations are largely inevitable for Facebook and many other tech companies. "We're witnessing a law of unintended consequences at work. The scale of Facebook is unprecedented but as they're attempting to bring people closer together, they've also created social media bubbles that divided the world, and so any regulations meant to place them under more scrutiny will have to be vast and comparably unprecedented," the industry veteran said. Companies like Cambridge Analytica have been exploiting Facebook's tools to create "division instead of social cohesion" that Facebook is aiming for, according to Mr. Yueh.
Google is arguably the only entity in the world that has even more data on user's habits, preferences, and other general demographic-relevant data than Facebook, being the one that runs the world's most popular operating system, search engine, Internet browser, email service, and video platform. Should Facebook's recent controversies result in new legislation, the current industry consensus is that U.S. lawmakers would be unlikely to push for any laws that would specifically target the social media giant and would instead likely sponsor regulations applying to every company whose products are monetized through targeted advertising based on aggregated data from users.