Saturday, March 31, 2018

What the Facebook Scandal is about

The Fake Facebook Scandal | Liberty Unbound - Fred Mora:

March 27, 2018 - "It is no mystery that Facebook painstakingly accumulates a detailed profile of every user. Their locations, habits, purchases, relationships, and opinions are carefully analyzed and stored.... Facebook exploits this information to sell ads and resell user data to third parties. In exchange for the free service, users click through a lengthy consent form and become the product that Facebook sells.... Facebook created and published an 'API' (Application Programming Interface), a way for third-party programmers to query and receive Facebook user data — provided they pay.

"From 2010 to 2015 or so, Facebook allowed customers using their API to download and keep user data. Many Facebook customers took advantage of the feature. Among these customers was the firm A.M.G., which worked for the 2012 Obama campaign.... A.M.G. downloaded Facebook data on every American user — so much data that it triggered an alert in Facebook's monitoring system. Facebook looked the other way and told the campaign it could go on until the election....

"The 2016 Trump campaign hired a British data mining company, Cambridge Analytica, which also used Facebook user data.... The business-as-usual data sale was deemed a 'breach' or a 'leak,' ... [which] implies that Facebook's juicy data were not voluntarily sold....

"Mark Zuckerberg ... stooped to abject apologies for something that was done legally and publicly.... Now, Zuckerberg might be a greedy sociopath and a cloying statist, but he is not an idiot. And he doesn't give off the martyr vibe, either. So what’s going on?...

"According to market research company eMarketer, 5 to 10% of young users — from preteens to age 25 — are dropping off Facebook every year.... Zuckerberg needs to stop the user hemorrhage. He can take a risk and change the services and features offered by Facebook. He tried a few times, but these changes either backfired or failed to retain users.

"Thus, like every good rentseeking statist, Zuckerberg is now turning to the force of government. He is advocating regulation that would force social media companies to increase transparency on ads and fight hate speech. And ban offensive messages. And vet content. And more....

"Facebook is already severely limiting free speech.... Zuckerberg employs a horde of rabid activists that roam the site, looking for popular pages that contain un-PC keywords, and will block off any user sounding vaguely conservative if he or she becomes too popular. His biased censorship, which would make the Chinese government proud, is starting to attract attention.

"Zuckerberg is now advocating regulation mandating similar censorship and content vetting for all social media. This is a clever triple play. It would raise costs, and thus the barrier to entry, for all potential social network rivals, thereby keeping these pesky competitors at bay. It would absolve him from his anti-conservative witch hunt, since he would merely be implementing a regulation. And it would deprive banned users of a tribune where they can publish their horrid un-PC diatribes."

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1 comment:

  1. At last, some sensible and insightful reporting on this so-called "scandal"!