With any lens except the most superficial, Facebook fails this test. Yes, its product is free and available to anyone. But we pay with our data and privacy - and ultimately, with our democracy. Facebook's dominance has adversely affected entire industries, swung elections, and fuelled genocides.
The story of Facebook in the past few years has been that of a company slow to understand how powerful it has become. But an investigation by The New York Times finds that once Facebook’s leaders understood the problems they faced, they sought to conceal them.
While Mr. Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
Alex Shephard looks at Sheryl Sandberg’s role in all of this, especially her engagement with a Republican PR firm.
That sterling reputation took a serious blow this week. A report from The New York Times shows that, while Sandberg was building her global brand, she was using aggressive and underhanded tactics at Facebook. As the company faced increasing criticism and pressure over its handling of fake news, election interference, data abuse, and the incitement of ethnic violence and genocide, she embraced a strategy to suppress information about Facebook’s problems, discredit its critics, and deflect blame onto its competitors. She berated her security chief for being honest about the extent of the Russian campaign on the site. And she employed multiple crisis PR firms that spread fake news as a defense tactic, in one instance tying critics to the liberal billionaire, George Soros, a frequent subject of anti-semitic abuse online.
I just wondering what the implications of all this is? For some it is the end of an era, however I am not seeing everywhere?
If companies were paying out damages commensurate with the social costs their data recklessness imposes on the rest of us, it would have a very clarifying effect on their behavior -- insurers would get involved, refusing to write E&O policies for board members without massive premium hikes, etc. A little would go a long way, here.
Facebook is a company that has lost control—not of its business, which has suffered remarkably little from its series of unfortunate events since the 2016 election, but of its consequences. Its old slogan, “Move fast and break things,” was changed a few years ago to the less memorable “Move fast with stable infra.” Around the world, however, Facebook continues to break many things indeed. In Myanmar, hatred whipped up on Facebook Messenger has driven ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. In India, false child abduction rumors on Facebook’s WhatsApp service have incited mobs to lynch innocent victims. In the Philippines, Turkey, and other receding democracies, gangs of “patriotic trolls” use Facebook to spread disinformation and terrorize opponents. And in the United States, the platform’s advertising tools remain conduits for subterranean propaganda.
by Siva Vaidhyanathan and Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now
by Jaron Lanier, Jacob Weisberg provides a useful history of Facebook. This touches on fake news, data breaches and revolt from within. Weisberg gives some interesting critiques about where to next, including responses such as leaving Facebook and the push for antitrust movement.
via Boing Boing
Portal will spy on you continuously while you use it and that data will be used to target Facebook ads at you later.
Facebook - sure, we may have sold your most intimate data to the Russkies, installed a cryptofascist in the whitehouse, engendered genocide in Myanmar and the slaughter of hundreds of innocent people across the developing world, and (just this last week) got caught leaking user data of at least 50,000,000 people, but you should totally allow our always-on microphone and camera into your home! Trust us!
Every article about FB is accompanied by a goofy Zuck photo, look what this dufus did now. But I feel like, no, look what our society did.
“Social media is in a pre-Newtonian moment, where we all understand that it works, but not how it works,” Mr. Systrom told me, comparing this moment in the tech world to the time before man could explain gravity. “There are certain rules that govern it and we have to make it our priority to understand the rules, or we cannot control it.”
The attack added to the company’s woes as it contends with fallout from its role in a Russian disinformation campaign.
Users who posted breaking stories about the breach from The Guardian, The Associated Press and other outlets were prompted with a notice that their posts had been taken down. So many people were posting the stories, they looked like suspicious activity to the systems that Facebook uses to block abuse of its network.
“We removed this post because it looked like spam to us,” the notice said.