In It Together

Hundreds of millions of

Facebook users are likely to have had their private information harvested by companies that exploited the same terms as the firm that collected data and passed it on to Cambridge Analytica, according to a new whistleblower.

What I don’t get is the insistent use of the words “private information” in relation to Facebook. What private information can FB possibly have? The only reason anybody posts anything on FB is because they want to make it public. That’s the whole point of Facebook’s existence.

I hate Facebook but I can’t understand the current scandal. How can FB be blamed for doing the only thing which it exists to do, namely, selling ads to people and selling people to ads?

The whole obsession with “Russians stole the elections”, “Facebook stole the elections”, “green aliens from another planet stole the elections” stems from an incapacity to comprehend that not everybody is equally happy about the advances of liquidity. And it’s funny how the anxieties about liquidity hover around the fantasies of the folks who are supposedly all rah-rah about it. “The Russians” and Facebook are evidence of uncontrollable global flows where nothing can protect one from the malevolent presence of those who move faster and take the only thing one still has, one’s possibly sellable quirk.

We are all in it together, and it’s best to discuss our anxieties over what is now clearly an unavoidable transformation together and directly.

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5 thoughts on “In It Together”

  1. I thought Trevor Noah on the Daily Show had a good, and actually restrained take on it. It was highly targeted advertising, but no one marched anyone to the polls to force them to vote for Trump.

    Part of the issue with Facebook, is that they offer “privacy” settings to people, and say that you can make sure only your friends are allowed to view your profile, if you want to set it that way. The Cambridge Analytica firm put out quizzes that asked for access not only to your own profile, but also the profile of everyone on your friends list. In theory, one person should not be able to “grant access” to someone else’s profile, and it should be a breach of the terms of service for FB to allow it. It sounds like FB knew about what was going on, and didn’t shut it down.

    The other issue is if there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Political Action Committee that paid for the ads. A PAC can spend more than a candidate on political ads, and are less restrained in what their ads can say, but they aren’t supposed to be getting direction from the candidate they’re supporting.

    If the takeaway from this is less political clout for FB and PACs, I would be happy, but who knows which direction it will go in. If anything replaces FB at this point, it’s probably going to be worse in every way.

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  2. You know what else I can’t understand about the current scandal, is this wasn’t exactly kept secret. There were articles a year ago about how Cambridge Analytica harvested user information and built up psychological profiles on users to send them exactly what their profile said they wanted to hear. Why is this suddenly becoming news now while it was ignored a year ago?

    I know I’m gonna sound as pretentious as the TV people you mentioned a few days ago, but this is why I never signed on to FB. The way they asked for all your information always creeped me out, it always outweighed the drawbacks from not being on FB. And if news reports are correct, more people are starting to see it that way.

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    1. Actually, good for you that you never signed on to FB. I hate it because most people come out as a lot dumber than they actually are. I will never understand folks who are addicted to it and who aren’t trying to sell anything.

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      1. The whole obsession with “Russians stole the elections”, “FaceBook stole the elections”, “green aliens from another planet stole the elections” stems from an incapacity to comprehend that not everybody is equally happy about the advances of liquidity. And it’s funny how the anxieties about liquidity hover around the fantasies of the folks who are supposedly all rah-rah about it. “The Russians” and FaceBook are evidence of uncontrollable global flows where nothing can protect one from the malevolent presence of those who move faster and take the only thing one still has, one’s possibly sellable quirk.

        Irritation aside, I only joined FaceBook when I moved to a city far from all of my friends and relatives in my hometown, a side effect of fluidity.

        Actually, good for you that you never signed on to FB. I hate it because most people come out as a lot dumber than they actually are.
        Oh, that’s deliberate. Do you think I’d put any of my original thoughts or anything I think is original on FaceBook? I don’t do that because of my own personal makeup, but this is not unique to me. Ça n’importe pas.

        Hilariously the site itself keeps showing stuff I posted years ago. Repost and remember! It also keeps reminding me when I became “FaceBook” friends with someone (I have literally never met anyone on FaceBook or considered it to be an important milestone in any friendship/acquaintance) and now wants me to answer questions “to help people get to know [me].” It’s creepy. If that doesn’t speak to the disconnection caused by fluidity nothing does.

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        1. Oh, I so hope it’s deliberate. Because I’m losing faith in humanity here. I hope people don’t really believe or like all the ridiculous crap they post. My feed is like a chapter of Snowflakes United with occasional welcome photos of babies.

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