Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has finally responded to the company’s ongoing privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, the data firm with ties to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In a post to his Facebook page on Wednesday, Zuckerberg reiterated Facebook’s stance on this issue: That the company was hurt by a bad actor that didn’t follow the company’s guidelines. Zuckerberg says that there was also a “breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.”
But there was no explicit apology.
Facebook once again has failed to take responsibility for what they have done. And what they have done is to violate their customers’ trust and expectations of how they’d protect personal data. They swept up all the personal information and sold it to thousands of companies. They showed no interest with what those companies did with the data. In addition, anytime we used our Facebook identity to sign in to other sites or downloaded apps, those companies got access to this data.
Yes, we didn’t expect privacy when we signed up for Facebook. But we assumed our data was to be used by Facebook to help their customers, the advertisers, better target us with more relevant ads.
Facebook’s greed went far beyond that model, as they sold our data to pretty much anyone that wanted it, without telling us or asking for permission. Yes, there were options to opt out, but the setting pages were confusing and difficult to navigate, likely done on purpose.
If Facebook had any respect for their users, they’d ask users to opt in.
My family and I left Facebook several weeks ago after learning that they were using photos of users to help to better get to know us and matching our faces to data they accessed elsewhere, including drivers licenses, security cameras, and ID cards. Facebook, in fact, was buying outside data, credit card statements, and all sorts of information to not only track its members, but also those that never opened a Facebook account.
In his statement, Zuckerberg continues to blame others. He constantly lies and distorts what really happened. In this latest case with Cambridge Analytica, he knew they had the data of 50 million people for years and in the lead up to the election, he even helped the Trump campaign make the most from that data.
I’ve recommended to friends, relatives and readers that they need to leave Facebook for their own protection, as well as to send them a message. Staying on is supporting these terrible people that continue to deceive and bend the truth.
Don’t believe that Facebook can fix there problems. There’s not much Facebook can do to get their model to work without still allowing it to be abused. They’ve built a very effective tool for advertisers to build their own advertising campaigns by filling out a few lines in a form. The advertiser could be selling phones or selling propaganda, it works all the same. So, by creating this tool, Facebook has enabled the spreading of fake news, false rumors, and propaganda from individuals and organizations around the world. It’s like the invention of Fire, it can be used for good or evil, and there’s no way to separate one set of users from the other.
I’d like to think it’s over for Facebook and that they lose the trust of a vast majority of their members, and their membership drops rapidly. But that might be naïve. What I have no uncertainty about is that Facebook and its executives, particularly Marc Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, still fail to grasp what they have done, are in denial, and have no intention of changing course, beyond some cosmetic fixes. The company does not deserve to stay in business for how badly they lied, and how poorly they dealt with the data we provided them.
Lastly, if you want some insight into Zuckerberg’s thinking, here’s an except from Business Insider that’s worth pondering:
According to sources, the following exchange is between a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and a friend shortly after Mark launched The Facebook in his dorm room:
Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS [Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don’t know why.
Zuck: They “trust me”
Zuck: Dumb fucks.
Zuckerberg and Sandberg emerged from their bunkers on Wednesday to conduct a few interviews with the press. They finally offered an apology of sorts, but not quite. They apologized for allowing the data to be used by Cambridge Analytica, as well as confirming it was also shared by perhaps tens of thousands of app makers. But they offered little reassurance that their model would change and could not provide assurance that their model would work without further compromises.
What wasn’t addressed was why Facebook ever thought there was nothing wrong with sharing data well beyond their advertisers, particularly to groups they new nothing about.
Everything that was done was to Facebook’s benefit with no attention or care about their users. No thought, no concern, no attention paid to the more than one billion users
So the Facebook model remains the same; it’s just that they’d be more careful in how far and wide the data would be shared.
If you’re still unsure about deleting your Facebook account, read this humorous column. It puts the value of Facebook in perspective.
I can understand why you might wish to delete Facebook, especially given that the company responded to the news about Cambridge Analytica by saying, oh, no, the problem was not that someone had access to the data of 50 million people, most of whom had no idea that their information was being shared, that part was okay; the problem was they sold it.
That is why I have this special offer: If you want to delete Facebook, but are worried that you will miss it, I am happy to become your personal Facebook and do everything that Facebook used to do.
First, I will tell you any time anyone you went to high school with gets married or engaged. I will accompany this information with uncomfortable pictures of them standing on a beach, squinting into a bright light………