Wednesday, March 21, 2018

MORE, on the Facebook debacle ... a five-alarm fire in American democracy ... by gimleteye

Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are huddled away, trying to figure out their next steps now that the role of Facebook data in promoting the election of Donald Trump and the Alt-R is coming clear. Their shameful disgrace is spreading across Western democracies because elected representatives allowed Moscow Center an open door to exploit the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of human nature; proliferating the scum of nativist fears and anxieties (in parallel, too, with Rupert Murdoch's Fox News empire).

Here are a couple of recent postings worth reading in their entirely. The first, an OPED by Lizzie O'Shea in the UK Guardian (which has bravely lead the disclosures about Cambridge Analytica's exploitation of Facebook data) makes a case for re-working the internet to protect personal data and privacy, as a generalist point of view:

Facebook’s reckless vanity has made the headlines again, with the revelation that data it held on about 50 million users was exploited commercially without their consent, and that when Facebook found out about this, it did pathetically little. We only know this thanks to the bravery of a whistleblower. This is yet another scandal in a troubled period for the company, with a growing sense that it is all profit, no responsibility. But the current malaise goes wider than Facebook. On the internet more widely, the advertising-supported model has demanded its payout, and as a result our experience of the web is getting worse. Like rats scrambling to get back on a sinking ship, senior former-Facebookers are lining up to express regrets. It all feels too little, too late.

The second is by a mathematician whose feed I recently began to follow: Paul-Olivier Dehaye. This post on Medium, in Sept. 2017, is even more astringent today, following the whistleblowers emerging from the Bannon/Trump/Mercer/Cambridge Analytica connections.

Dear Facebook, For the past two years, I have been trying to contribute to the public debate around Facebook’s influence in elections. For instance, I have been credited for research on two influential articles: The Data That Turned the World Upside Down (Das Magazin, Zurich, then translated worldwide) and Robert Mercer: The big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media (The Guardian/The Observer). As part of this wider effort, I have tried for a long time to use my data protection rights to get access to more information about the ad targeting that takes place on your platform. These requests have so far been met with one limited, but encouraging, success.

I’m just a curious FB adopter who blogs from time to time on Facebook, a five-alarm fire in American democracy. I was horrified by FB content that passed on my screen in 2016 (before deleting all the Trump and RUS supporting groups that swamped my FB feed.)

Dehaye has an outline of what Facebook is not telling us about its algorithms. We’ve allowed FB to abuse western democracies and election processes ... long past time for governments to intervene although that runs counter to the Republican narrative; a significant reason for Congress to be returned to Democratic control in Nov. 2018.

The GOP has been as silent on Cambridge Analytica and Trump as it has been on Facebook. It doesn't want to confront the truth that its jihad against government regulation -- of everything from public health to to gun safety -- is criminal negligence. The swamp isn't being drained. America is not being made great again.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Republican Party has turned into the anti-American, anti-democracy party. Dictatorship not the rule of law is their desired goal. Their leader is at war with all our democratic rules, laws, and institutions, and even the Constitution. He has embraced our enemies, and snubbed our friends. He has demolished the image of the Whitehouse with scandal after scandal. There is absolutely no work going on there. And he and they have allowed enemy attack on our soil with no response.

Gayle Ryan said...

sharing your comment on Facebook also!!