“Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has two basic questions to address in the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says on a conference call with media: Can it protect users, and can it make sure it’s not used to undermine democracy.”
The answer to those questions is no, and they aren’t the basic questions, even about the Cambridge Analytics problem he’s trying to pretend is the real issue. Cambridge Analytics is just one example in a long list of Facebook exploitations of its users. A more salient question is, “Can a business whose very basis is slight-of-hand betrayal of trust be trusted?” The answer to that question is also no.
The second question is simply absurd. First, speech intended to undermine democracy is a right those living in our Republic already possess. Second, Facebook, by its actions to help elect Barack Obama, invented the practice Zuckerberg decries. Cambridge Analytics didn’t even exist when Facebook demonstrated the concept.
“Zuckerberg also says that most users should assume that their publicly available information has been scraped; he’s referring here to those who enabled the ability for friends to search for them by phone number or email address.
“We’ve seen some scraping,” he says. “I would assume if you had that setting turned on that someone at some point has access to your public information in some way.””
He means, of course, “accessed by scrapers not employed by Facebook.” Facebook scraping also includes information not intended to be public, such as scanning all your Facebook Messenger content. And keeping all the videos you thought you had deleted. What does this tell us? That Facebook wasn’t concerned about protecting their most precious resources – your trust and your personal information – despite having been called out on it multiple times. Incompetence by design?
Well, “you” had the setting allowing scraping turned on: It’s your fault. Nothing to do with Facebook’s decisions about default settings buried under three menu layers. And if you didn’t “assume that [your] publicly available information” was going to be scraped then Zuckerberg’s right – it is your fault, because as he’s said, you’re a “dumb f**k.”