Facebook’s surveillance machine

“This weekend, after this was all exposed by The New York Times and The Observer of London, Facebook hastily made a public announcement that it was suspending Cambridge Analytica… and vehemently denied that this was a ‘data breach.’ Paul Grewal, a vice president and deputy general counsel at Facebook, wrote that ‘the claim that this is a data breach is completely false,'” Zeynep Tufekci writes for The New York Times. “Mr. Grewal is right: This wasn’t a breach in the technical sense. It is something even more troubling: an all-too-natural consequence of Facebook’s business model, which involves having people go to the site for social interaction, only to be quietly subjected to an enormous level of surveillance. The results of that surveillance are used to fuel a sophisticated and opaque system for narrowly targeting advertisements and other wares to Facebook’s users.”

“Facebook makes money, in other words, by profiling us and then selling our attention to advertisers, political actors and others. These are Facebook’s true customers, whom it works hard to please,” Tufekci writes. “Facebook even creates “shadow profiles” of nonusers. That is, even if you are not on Facebook, the company may well have compiled a profile of you, inferred from data provided by your friends or from other data. This is an involuntary dossier from which you cannot opt out in the United States.”

“This wasn’t informed consent. This was the exploitation of user data and user trust,” Tufekci writes. “The problem here goes beyond Cambridge Analytica and what it may have done. What other apps were allowed to siphon data from millions of Facebook users? What if one day Facebook decides to suspend from its site a presidential campaign or a politician whose platform calls for things like increased data privacy for individuals and limits on data retention and use? What if it decides to share data with one political campaign and not another? What if it gives better ad rates to candidates who align with its own interests?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Facebook. All bad things must come to an end.

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.

We haven’t had personal FaceBook accounts for many years now. And happily so.MacDailyNews, May 11, 2017

Beyond the privacy aspect, Facebook is Creepster Central. It’s a Narcissists’ Paradise. In general, yuck. — MacDailyNews, March 27, 2015

Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg AWOL from Facebook’s damage control session – March 20, 2018
U.S. FTC reportedly probing Facebook’s abuse of personal data as UK summons Zuckerberg for questioning – March 20, 2018
The problem isn’t Cambridge Analytica: It’s Facebook – March 19, 2018
Apple: Privacy is a fundamental right – September 27, 2017
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
Apple’s cutting-edge ‘differential privacy’ is opt-in – June 24, 2016
Apple’s cutting-edge ‘differential privacy’ offers unique option for technology users – June 20, 2016
Apple’s use of cutting-edge tech will peek at user habits without violating privacy – June 16, 2016
Apple unveils iOS 10, the mother of all iOS releases – June 13, 2016
Apple previews major update with macOS Sierra – June 13, 2016
Apple seeks to use AI to keep Google off your iPhones, iPads, and Macs – June 15, 2016
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
Tim Cook gets privacy and encryption: We shouldn’t surrender them to Google – June 4, 2015
Tim Cook attacks Google, U.S. federal government over right to privacy abuses – June 3, 2015
The price you’ll pay for Google’s ‘free’ photo storage – June 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook champions privacy, blasts ‘so-called free services’ – June 3, 2015
Passing on Google Photos for iOS: Read the fine print before you sign up for Google’s new Photos service – June 1, 2015
Why Apple’s Photos beats Google Photos, despite price and shortcomings – May 30, 2015
Is Apple is losing the photo wars? – May 29, 2015
How Google aims to delve deeper into users’ lives – May 29, 2015
Apple CEO Cook: Unlike some other companies, Apple won’t invade your right to privacy – March 2, 2015
Survey: People trust U.S. NSA more than Google – October 29, 2014
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
U.S. NSA watching, tracking phone users with Google Maps – January 28, 2014
U.S. NSA secretly infiltrated Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – October 30, 2013
Google has already inserted some U.S. NSA code into Android – July 10, 2013
Court rules NSA doesn’t have to reveal its semi-secret relationship with Google – May 22, 2013


  1. If you’re going to be hard on Google, and you should, you should also be hard on Apple for being paid billions to have Google as default search on iOS. Frankly, it’s worse. When grandma uses Google on purpose, she knows she’s using Google, iOS is covert.

    1. Apple has proven that they try very hard to prevent “spying” via their products. They have instituted many anti-tracking features into Webkit. So even if grandma doesn’t know she’s using Google search, chances are Apple has and is working hard to prevent her data from being mined.

      Even having anonymous access to search terms is still extremely valuable to Google and that’s what they pay for.

  2. Hopefully, this is the downfall of Facebook (Stupidbook) and all social networking.. Utter waste, not necessary and ruining society.. It wasn’t needed for years and isn’t needed today.

  3. I’m more worried about Google than FaceBook. I killed off all accounts years ago to both companies, but Google is the company can continue to build a profile on me.

    I text someone on an Android device
    I send an email to a Google account
    I visit a website with Google ads

  4. “What if it (FaceBook) decides to share data with one political campaign and not another? What if it gives better ad rates to candidates who align with its own interests?”
    – – It has already happened.

    Carol Davidson, Obama campaign official 2012:
    “The Obama campaign just did this on a digital — in a digital level, on a much larger level. But we were actually able to ingest the entire social network, social network of the U.S. that’s on Facebook, which is most… That’s most people.”

    “Narwhal was a real time scalable data integration and campaign API platform that fused together facts gathered about multiple identities into a single unified profile available to every arm of the campaign.”

    “That freaked Facebook out, right? So they shut off the feature. Well, the Republicans never built an app to do that. So the data is out there. You can’t take it back, right? So the Democrats have this information. So when they look at a voter file and someone comes to them, they can immediately be like, Oh. Here are all the other people that they know, and here are people that they can help us persuade because they’re really good friends with this person. The Republicans do not have that information and will not get that information, right? Now there’s a disadvantage of information that to me seems unfair. But I’m not Facebook. So this is the reality.”

    Source: NY Times and they bragged about it.

    1. The key phrase is “But we were actually able to ingest the entire social network, social network of the U.S. that’s on Facebook, which is most… That’s most people.”

      Cambridge Analytica got a drop in a bucket compared to Obama’s election team.

    2. The difference, Think, is that the political polls the Obama administration used had clear disclaimers. The tools that Cambridge Analytica used were deceptive–it was literal malware with no disclosure whatsoever.

      Take off your partisan blinders and look at the full picture.

      1. Sources?
        Plus you side stepped the “we were actually able to ingest the entire social network”. Please reread what I typed and go read the NY Times article. Obama got unbelievable FB access.

        1. Allow me to butt into the conversation. I supported Obama in 2012. This is a screen shot ot the Obama campaign Dashboard app.

          As you can see, IT IS AN APP THAT PASSED APPLE REVIEW, THAT THE USER INSTALLED HIMSELF. Look on the page. See all the buttons at the bottom? Let me list them so you get it through your thick skulls:


          Unlike the Trump hackers, a user who engaged with the Obama campaign in 2012 was given FULL DISCLOSURE. It was OPT IN. You didn’t need to be a Twitter or Facebook user at all.

          Nothing Cambridge did was ever above board. I doubt Facebook is either. But don’t you dare compare the honest and transparent methods Obama used to the slimy illegal foreign campaign hackery that was used in 2016. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trump as always hired foreign help and used qustionable, perhaps illegal, methods. He doesn’t know and he doesn’t care. But damn it you should. Truth matters. Character matters.

      2. And scraping users’ data without their consent is called hacking. This means Steve Bannon, the Mercers, the Trump Campaign, etc. hacked 50 million Americans, which is very illegal.

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