Jakob Steinschaden / Flickr mark zuckerberg facebook...
Jakob Steinschaden / Flickr

Jason Kint on Twitter breaks down the written answers to the Senate Intel questions provided by Facebook.  I found these ones to be interesting…

The second tweet basically states that your mobile device is the same thing to Facebook as a profile.  So you don’t need to have a registered FB profile for them to track you.  If you visit a web site or app that contains their technology, which so many have, that’s how they get information.

Here, Jason points out the monster data collecting machine Facebook is:

Just a reminder: Global Science Research (GSR) is the company that harvested Facebook data using a personality app under the guise of academic research and later shared the data with Cambridge Analytica.

Oh and this too:  Facebook provided employees to work along side Cambridge Analytica!

Yes, this is old news and we already know all this.  But, we’re also STILL using Facebook!  And, why is Mark Zuckerberg so scared? If Facebook didn’t do anything wrong, why NOT answer questions by the UK Parliament?

Maybe the NYTs article that came out yesterday can shed some light on it?  Nick Confessore was one of the authors of this bombshell article.

This was news to me!  Zuckerberg actually questioned whether Trump violated FB policy:

I’m not sure how responding to DISINFORMATION would be taking sides, but whatever, right?

Oh Chuck Schumer…whose side are you really on?

(Sorry for the repeat tweet!  Still learning how to write these diaries!)

If you wanna see the NYT article highlights in writing, David Carroll posted his thread about the NYT article.

(Sorry for the repeat tweet here!)

So, how did Facebook respond to this article? From Forbes:

Facebook terminated its contract with Definers Public Affairs following a bombshell New York Times investigation that detailed how Facebook hired the Republican opposition researcher to counter criticism of its role in spreading Russian misinformation and exposed its users to political ad targeting firm Cambridge Analytica.

In fact, NBC News reports that:

Facebook’s ties to the lobbying firm, Definers Public Affairs, were first reported on Wednesday in The New York Times, which detailed how the group aimed to “discredit activist protesters [of Facebook], in part by linking them to liberal financier George Soros,” who has become the subject of widespread right-wing conspiracy theories for his philanthropy work.

The report resulted in widespread criticism and accusations of hypocrisy by Facebook for its use of a lobbying firm that pushed narratives on behalf of its clients disguised as news articles. And some of the firm’s more inflammatory political ads for other clients were removed by Facebook itself for violating its advertising policies.

Definers runs a website called NTK Network, which has a verified page on Facebook with more than 120,000 followers that publishes and promotes articles about the firm’s clients as well as their competitors.

A former employee of Definers, who asked not to be identified in order to protect professional relationships, told NBC News that NTK Network was “our in-house fake news shop.” Some clients would actively pay for NTK Network’s positive coverage, which the ex-employee said would then be pushed out through Facebook in the hopes of being picked up by larger conservative media outlets such as Breitbart.

…And now it turns out that Facebook was not just the platform for this kind of opposition work, but had actually hired a practitioner to do so on its behalf.

And, this is just about our country.  Facebook is hurting others too and they admit it. From NBC News:

Facebook has admitted it failed to prevent its social media platform being used to incite violence in Myanmar.

An independent report commissioned by the tech giant was published Tuesday, finding that Facebook had been misused in a way that contributed to human rights abuses in the country.

“A minority of users (in Myanmar) are seeking to exploit Facebook as a platform to undermine democracy and incite offline violence,” it said.

On that note, Reuters thought this was important to share today as well:

Facebook Inc (FB.O) said here on Thursday it had identified about 2.1 million posts as being bullying or harassment in nature on the social network between April and September.

The company revealed the numbers in its second community standards enforcement report, in which the company introduced a new category of data with details on bullying or harassment posts.

In summary, per Slate’s article, Facebook is a Normal Sleazy Company Now:

The leaders of Facebook can no longer pretend they are special people running a special company. Facebook is now just another normal sleazy American company run by normal sleazy executives, engaged in normal sleazy lobbying and corporate propaganda.

..The three features that make Facebook Facebook also make it the ideal platform for working on behalf of dangerous and violent forces. The first is scale. Facebook gathers posts from more than 2.2 billion people in more than 100 languages. The second is algorithmic amplification. Facebook promotes extreme content like hate speech and conspiracy theories over thoughtful, balanced, deliberate work. And the third is the best advertising system ever created. Facebook can put an ad in front of exactly the type of person who might respond to a sales pitch or a call to political action and ignore those who might not.

Zuckerberg and Sandberg can’t fix Facebook because to fix Facebook is to scrap one or more of these essential attributes. The problem with Facebook is Facebook.

We are stuck in the world Facebook made. It was a terrible idea in the first place, but as long as advertisers, authoritarians, and Chuck Schumer protect it, Facebook will face little significant pressure in most of the world. All Zuckerberg and Sandberg need to do is ride out this moment, boast about making a good effort to clean the thing up, and keep those campaign contributions flowing. Facebook will be just fine. Democracy will not.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, this is old news and we already know all this. But, we’re also STILL using Facebook! And, why is Mark Zuckerberg so scared? If Facebook didn’t do anything wrong, why NOT answer questions by the UK Parliament?

    Yes, this is old news and we already know all this. But, we all STILL want the truth. And, why is Donald Trump so scared? If Trump didn’t do anything wrong, why NOT answer questions by the special Counsel Mueller???

    and and and….yeah, right.

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