“Cambridge Analytica garnered headlines across the world on Friday as Facebook formally suspended the company from its platform over allegations that it had improperly received and retained data on tens of millions of Facebook users from an academic researcher that had originally obtained the data legally and properly in accordance with previous Facebook developer guidelines,” Kalev Leetaru writes for Forbes. “However, whether or not the allegations are true (the company has denied them), the singular focus on Cambridge Analytica makes for a simple meme-worthy media narrative, but the reality is that what the company stands accused of by Facebook is in fact what academic researchers, commercial enterprises, governments and even the social media companies themselves do every day with the data entrusted to them by a quarter of the earth’s population.”
“Perhaps the most remarkable takeaway from coverage of the 2016 election is just how starkly changed the reaction of the public and media has been to political use of data-driven election targeting since the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns,” Leetaru writes. “When the Obama campaign pushed the boundaries of precision voter targeting, pioneering techniques like peering into the privacy of American’s living rooms through their DVRs to see what each individual voter was actually watching on their televisions, the press and public cheered, hailing it as a long overdue modernization of the campaigning process and holding up the campaign’s data scientists as miniature heroes showcasing what could be done with data today. In the leadup to the 2016 election, the press and public derided the Trump campaign as apparently being data-devoid, while hailing Clinton’s campaign as picking up the data-first mantle from the Obama campaign and pushing it even further. In short, data was good and pushing the privacy and ethical boundaries of data to monitor and manipulate voters was a positive, modernizing campaigning in line with the commercial advertising world.”
“A year later in the midst of a stunning election upset and investigations of Russian influence, the tenor towards data-driven politicking has turned upside down… Though, before attributing absolute campaigning power to data, it is important to remember that Cruz’s failed presidential bid relied on the same firm and data that is credited with Trump’s win, calling into question the level of impact it actually had,” Leetaru writes. “A central theme of the rhetoric and coverage of Cambridge Analytica is that it somehow violated accepted societal norms over the use of Facebook data, with politicians, regulators and major news outlets referring to it in the cybersecurity parlance of a data “breach.” In fact, this could not be further from the truth in our modern ‘surveillance economy.'”
“Cambridge Analytica’s alleged use of Facebook data for voter targeting pales in comparison with the ways in which Facebook itself exploits its private user data for its own purposes and those of the researchers that collaborate with it,” Leetaru writes. “Instead of holding Cambridge Analytica up as a villain, if society at large has concerns about how their Facebook social media personas can be used to monitor and potentially manipulate them, they should take a closer look at the platform that makes it all possible: Facebook.”
Tins more in the full article – highly recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: The problem is two-fold: Facebook – and companies like Facebook that thrive on user data (Google, for one, if not the, prime example) and gullible users who piss their privacy and the privacy of their “friends” away willy-nilly while naively sending their DNA off to be analyzed by other companies.
Stop the idiocy!
Facebook makes their money by exploiting and selling intimate details about the private lives of millions, far beyond the scant details you voluntarily post. They are not victims. They are accomplices. https://t.co/mRkRKxsBcw
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 17, 2018
It’s past time for you to STOP USING FACEBOOK – March 19, 2018
Delete your Facebook: The only way to win the social game is not to play – March 19, 2018
How you access the super creepy data that Facebook has on you – March 12, 2018
Facebook asks users: Should we allow men to ask children for sexual images? – March 6, 2018
Study: Facebook is for old people – February 12, 2018
Mark Zuckerberg is fighting to save Facebook; announces major change to News Feed – January 12, 2018
Facebook developing ‘Portal’ gadget which will let it put microphones and cameras in people’s homes – January 11, 2018
Facebook is giving the US government more and more data – December 21, 2017
Former Facebook exec: Facebook is ‘destroying how society works’ – December 11, 2017
Google’s Eric Schmidt wore staff badge at Hillary Clinton’s ‘victory’ party – November 16, 2016
WikiLeaks emails show extremely close relationship between Clinton campaign and Google’s Eric Schmidt – November 1, 2016
Eric Schmidt-backed startup stealthily working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House – October 9, 2015
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011
Google, CIA Invest in ‘future’ of Web monitoring – July 29, 2010