Good morning, All,
Simple math. Let’s give basic post pubescents millions – if not billion – of dollars, fawning accolades in the press, not to mention from billionaire investors and so-called business leaders. You think all of this might go to their heads and they might get the idea that they’re not only bullet-proof, but endowed with powers beyond those of mere mortals and –shudder – above the law? They may get older, but they don’t seem to outgrow it.
First, we had the reports of Facebook manipulating a small percentage of its users for data collection. ‘Small’ for Facebook is nearly 700,000 people. Not much less than the population of Alaska. The story has changed a few times
– has been altered/updated, but it’s pretty much FB standard practice to act first, offer a weak apology later. (Facebook COO tells users she deliberately tried to upset: “We never meant to upset you”. For the record, ‘she’ is that arbiter of appropriate behavior – Sheryl ‘Lean In’ Sandberg).
But why not push the limits of ethics, if not legality? There haven’t been any major repercussions and all is forgotten/forgiven pretty much faster than you can say ‘Yo!’
This must stop. How many times is Facebook going to issue an ‘apology’ for having crossed the line? Again? Zuckerberg himself has issued 10 – but that count only goes up to 2011, and he had someone else do the dirty work this time. And let’s not forget that Mr. Zuckerberg spent $30 million on four homes to ensure his own privacy, so privacy and securing the borders (in both cases, his own, lest we forget that he is a major supporter of/contributor to amnesty and open borders) is something that seems to apply only to him. Guess that ‘do unto others’ thing is just not part of his ethos.
Of course, the New York Time found A Bright Side to Facebook’s Experiments on Its Users, but it’s really nothing that didn’t come out of Josef Goebbels’ playbook.
Google has done its share of stepping over the line as well, but they don’t even both with an apology any more: they end up being slapped on the wrist by some court or other, but still, no repercussions. So, where’s the deterrent? Are these young ‘innovators’ somehow above the law, or at least, consequences?
The Facebook experiment was not just a betrayal of trust or ‘a study about customer service,’ as one Facebook lawyer contended. And all Facebook suffered, to date, was a wrist slap from the Federal Trade Commission for ‘unfair and deceptive’ user privacy practices, according to Forbes. But let’s not forget that Facebook (and other tech companies) have regularly turned over user information to the government, so, yes, maybe a slap on the wrist is ‘fair.’ As a sort of nod of thanks. Your tax dollars at work!
Still, this ‘experiment’ is the stuff of a serious class action lawsuit, and with Facebook being the world’s 6th largest country, based on population, this could have very serious consequences.
How long had we been hearing the term, ‘users in charge,’ at the dawn of the social era? And that it’s all about ‘eyeball?’ That may well yet come back to bite the tech hegemony in the proverbial, and if/when users do take action where government have so far failed, let’s face it: it’s long overdue and this may well have been that fatal step over the line. Time will tell. Onward and forward.