The Future is Private
It is not the first time when #DeleteFacebook is anywhere to be found among the Tweets of the world-known influentials but have things gone too far after the last reveal about the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and is it even possible that the trend will lead to a serious withdrawal from the biggest social network worldwide?
We cannot predict the future, otherwise we would surely invest in some stocks but can at least review the situation by telling you why #DeleteFacebook has made such a huge impact on Twitter in the last 48 hours.
Our philosophy is that we care about people first.
Well, this tends to be the case with Facebook, according to Mark Zuckerberg but then what about the company’s infamous history of endorsing racism and lack of diversity, and abusing users' trust by sharing their private data with corporate partners and governments?!
Back in 2016 ProPublica revealed that Facebook advertisers could target housing, credit and work opportunities ads to whites only. Facebook said that the discrimination, racism and whitesuprimacy have no place in the paltform and promised to change its policy.
But then again in July 2017 ProPublica bought dozens of rental housing ads on Facebook and asked that they are not shown to certain categories of users, such as African Americans,Jews, people interested in wheelchair ramps, interested in Islam, Sunni Islam and Shia Islam, expats from Argentina and Spanish speakers.
And once more - all of their ads were approved.
How we can possibly forget the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2018, which revealed that more than 50 million Facebook profiles were harvested and the private information stored in them was used to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices directly at the ballot box?!
According to Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data:
We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.
According to some, those so called data breaches may even be the reason behind the election of Trump and the winning Brexit campaign.
After the scandal made the headlines, all we got was a five day long silence and then this statement coming from the Facebook CEO:
We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.
The largest social media platform in the world promised to change - it has to do so.
Back in 2010, Mark Zuckerberg claimed that privacy was no longer a
social norm but at the end of this April we’ve all seen the buzz phrase
the future is private/q> spreading at the company’s developer conference, F8, as the platform reoriented away from the newsfeed toward private chats, groups, and stories.
But will we buy this?
This July the Social network was fined the unprecedented $5 billion (nearly £4 billion) penalty by the Federal Trade Commission because of inappropriate sharing of users' personal information over the Cambridge Analytica data breach.
In a press statement FTC said:
The $5 billion penalty against Facebook is the largest ever imposed on any company for violating consumers' privacy and almost 20 times greater than the largest privacy or data security penalty ever imposed worldwide.
Facebook assessed $5 billion penalty, subjected to sweeping new restrictions on user privacy decisions to settle FTC charges the company violated a 2012 FTC order by deceiving users about their ability to control privacy of their personal info. Read more: https://t.co/NYx2JnKmJV pic.twitter.com/7KVd3Vg02J— FTC (@FTC) July 24, 2019
There’s more - the FTC included a list of six privacy requirements it's imposing on Facebook:
- Increased oversight of third-party apps
- A ban on taking users' phone numbers for security purposes and then using them for advertising (which it admitted to doing in 2018)
- Clearly alerting users and getting affirmative consent before using facial recognition
- Establishing and maintaining a new and comprehensive data-security program
- Encrypting user passwords and regularly scanning to see whether any passwords are being kept in vulnerable, plain-text format (as was discovered in March 2019)
- A ban on asking for email passwords to other services when users sign up to Facebook
Things seemed to somehow be getting back to normal (especially since we’re not fully certain what can be passed as
normal these days) or at least with no further shakes for Facebook… Until this week when the social media platform was involved in yet another controversy.
However this time the scandal is not only about advertising but politics as well. The undeniable influence of social media on people around the globe grows further everyday and when the biggest social media is playing favourites, we as a society are more than right to be concerned
By now we know that Facebook infamously collaborates with the US government to remove accounts both domestically and abroad, and has a history with the Israeli government in the suppression of the free speech of Palestinians, many of whom get their news exclusively through Facebook. Some of the platform’s critics think that by removing the so-called
hate speech Facebook is also silencing the ones that are inconvenient by any mean for governments around Europe.
On Monday afternoon #DeleteFacebook made a striking comeback as a viral trend on Twitter after in a Politico article it was revealed that the head of the most influential social media - Mark Zuckerberg had a number of informal meetings and off-the-record dinners with prominent right-wing critics of Facebook, conservative journalists, commenters and at least one Republican congressman, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson Washington Examiner correspondent Byron York, and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
According to Politico, apparently this was some sort of an attempt by Zuckerberg to circumvent the notion that Facebook is biased against conservatives.
He reportedly discussed
free expression, unfair treatment of conservatives, fact checking, partnerships, and privacy.
The social media giant has come under fire recently for its ad policy, which considers politicians’ claims to be
direct speech and ineligible for our third-party fact checking program - if they are made directly on their Facebook page, in an ad or on their website. Because of that bizarre policy, Facebook has allowed a Trump campaign ad making false claims about Joe Biden’s ties to Ukraine to remain on the social media platform reaching to thousands of people’s feeds for days.
Users worldwide deemed the
hateful, dangerous platform as
irresponsible and slammed it for
According to president Trump's administration -
The White House is looking for meaningful steps from Facebook on a number of fronts, among which - competition, free speech for everybody including conservatives, and privacy.
Among the many critics of Facebook in recent days, we can see the Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who shared her opinion about the company’s ad policy by stating that the platform would always choose profit instead of protecting democracy and will not be ashamed to spread false, misleading news and lies, making it a perfect tool for disinformation and propaganda.
We intentionally made a Facebook ad with false claims and submitted it to Facebook’s ad platform to see if it’d be approved. It got approved quickly and the ad is now running on Facebook. Take a look: pic.twitter.com/7NQyThWHgO— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 12, 2019
Warren tested the limits of that policy by releasing an ad making the deliberately false claim that Zuckerberg and Facebook had endorsed Trump’s re-election. Her ad stated:
If Trump tries to lie in a TV ad, most networks will refuse to air it. But Facebook just cashes Trump’s checks. Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once. Now, they’re deliberately allowing a candidate to intentionally lie to the American people. It’s time to hold Mark Zuckerberg accountable — add your name if you agree.
By doing so, Elizabeth Warren was not only proving her point but hoping that Facebook will somehow react to the powerful desinformation tool they are leaving in the hands of any advertiser no matter what harm his or her campaign may do.
After it was revealed to the public that Zuckerberg held a closed-door meeting with half a dozen senators last month, during the same trip to Washington when he met with Trump, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and White House social media director Dan Scavino, today the CEO posted this ironic comment on his Facebook page:
There's some press today discussing dinners I've had with conservative politicians, media and thinkers. To be clear, I have dinners with lots of people across the spectrum on lots of different issues all the time. Meeting new people and hearing from a wide range of viewpoints is part of learning. If you haven't tried it, I suggest you do!
We all remember that in June, President Trump threatened to sue Facebook and Google for what he claimed to be perceived biases. Was he all words - we’re about to see.
Next week Zuckerberg is due to visit Washington to testify before the House Financial Services Committee, where he’s expected to discuss Facebook’s controversial cryptocurrency plans.
So we’re about to see if the people on Social Media can indeed change the course of events in real life.
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