sheryl sandberg facebook ceo

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Users would need to pay if Facebook stopped collecting data, exec says

She also hinted that more data breaches are coming.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Apr 6, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 7:22 pm CDT

If you want an ad-free Facebook, you’ll have to pay for it.

Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, emphasized in an interview with NBC that Facebook depends on your data. She went on to explain that if Facebook offered an opt-out button for users who didn’t want their data collected, it would be forced to become a “paid product.”

“We have different forms of opt-out, we don’t have an opt-out at the highest level, that would be a paid product,” Sandberg said.

It’s important to note that Facebook (and other online services) collects your data for ad-targeting, not to sell or give away to advertisers. While its reliance on user data comes as no surprise, it’s unexpected to hear such a candid response on the subject from a high-ranking executive.

If the social giant is going to overcome the ongoing scandal it’s wrapped up in, it will need to be more transparency on how it uses data from the 2.2 billion people on its platform. The company took strides in that direction earlier this week by rewriting its “Terms and Service and Data Use” policy to better explain how and why data is collected.

But the scandal that saw political data firm Cambridge Analytica exploit the personal information of 87 million users may only be the start of its troubles. Later in the interview, Facebook’s second-in-command said she expects to come across more data breaches, “I’m not going to sit here and say that we’re not going to find more, because we are.”

But, at least, you’ll know if you were affected.

“As we find those, we’re going to notify people,” she said in a separate interview with NPR.

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*First Published: Apr 6, 2018, 3:21 pm CDT