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Contrary to most comments here, it is significant that other companies do. Facebook competes in the free market. If they scale back on data collection, that will hurt their offering to advertisers and cost them money that will go to Google and others. That lost revenue will harm their ability to retain talent and build new products, and ultimately cost them their user base. “We don’t track you” is not as compelling a feature as “free video chat across the globe.” Facebook doesn’t operate in a vacuum. They can’t scale back data collection unless others do. Moreover, the United States doesn’t exist in a vacuum either. Scaling back all US companies will give a leg up to competitors in more lenient jurisdictions.

This is the same logic as organized crime using violence. It’s part of their core business, and if they scale down on violence, other organization will have a leg up on them anf they lose revenue.

We don’t accept mafia escalating violence for profit. I’m OK with facebook (the biggest SNS) losing business because they can’t abuse the system enough.

What about the others ? same can be applied to them, and it doesn’t need to be done in order (no need to wait to regulate Google or twitter to touch facebook)

This is an important point and I wonder about it often. Especially the last one about countries that are lax on individual privacy. Imagine what China or Chinese companies could do with the genetic information they collect from their population. The lack of regulation is scary, but at the same time, they will be at the forefront of genetic engineering and designer humans. Can't think of any solution other than a World government. EU and AU has shown it is possible.

Is a world government necessarily a bad thing?

A union of federated states globally could be a significant force for good.

Impossible for the forseeable future of course but why immediately dismissed as a scary outcome?

I meant it as a good thing. Some things will need to be regulated at the global level. We are already seeing global problems - global warming being the prime example. I think we will end up either destroying ourselves or end up with a world government. World government will clearly be the better outcome. How that government works would also be an interesting topic for science fiction. Hint: I don't think it will be a democracy.

This is why laws are a good solution. Force all companies to abide by privacy laws (like the upcoming EU's GDPR). Then FB's competitors will not have an advantage.

Also I don't think most people would be willing to pay for Facebook which would be the alternative to surveillance and advertising.

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