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Zuckerberg’s new privacy essay shows why Facebook needs to be broken up - MIT Technology Review
By narrowly construing privacy to be almost exclusively about end-to-end encryption that would prevent a would-be eavesdropper from intercepting communications, he manages to avoid having to think about Facebook’s weaknesses and missteps. Privacy is not just about keeping secrets. It’s also about how flows of information shape us as individuals and as a society. What we say to whom and why is a function of context. Social networks change that context, and in so doing they change the nature of privacy, in ways that are both good and bad.
Facebook  socialMedia  ZuckerbergMark  communication  privacy  business  businessModels  advertising  encryption  secrecy  context  misinformation  attention  walledGarden  monopoly  control 
march 2019 by petej
The Cost of Living in Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet Empire - The Ringer
From Zuckerberg’s perspective, the whole point of Facebook has always been to bring people together. Well, nothing brings people together like an empire. Talk about engagement with a platform! The question, for those of us who would prefer to remain barbarians (and who hold out hope of someday sacking Rome), is how does he imagine an empire expands its borders? Who is Facebook making war on, if not us?
Facebook  socialMedia  personalData  misuse  leaks  privacy  Netflix  Spotify  advertising  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  ZuckerbergMark  power 
december 2018 by petej
“When You Get That Wealthy, You Start to Buy Your Own Bullshit”: The Miseducation of Sheryl Sandberg | Vanity Fair
Why do so many M.B.A.s struggle to make the ethical decisions that seem so clear to the rest of us? Is it right to employ a scummy P.R. firm to deflect attention from our failures? Is it O.K. if we bury questions about user privacy and consent under a mountain of legalese? Can we get away with repeatedly choosing profits over principles and then promising that we will do better in the future?
SandbergSheryl  HarvardBusinessSchool  leadership  Facebook  management  transparency  anti-Semitism  conspiracyTheory  personalData  misuse  CambridgeAnalytica  ZuckerbergMark  delusion  morality  ethics  business 
november 2018 by petej
The Tech Backlash We Really Need - The New Atlantis
The tech backlash, emerging as it has within this centuries-old trajectory, will not achieve the perspective necessary to offer a substantive evaluation of our technological disorders. The critique emanates from within the system, assumes the overall beneficence of the system, and serves only to maximize the system’s power and efficiency by working out its bugs. Meanwhile, the big tech companies can rest ever more assured of their ability to withstand an occasional public battering and emerge unscathed so long as the bribe remains sufficiently enticing. So far, the tech backlash seems likely not to weaken the tech industry but to strengthen it, enhancing the power of the present techno-social configuration.

This is not, however, a case for either inaction or despair. It is, rather, a plea to make the most of the present moment when the curtain has been pulled back ever so slightly on the industry that does so much to shape our world. A backlash will not be enough; by definition it is sudden and fleeting and its course is determined by the forces against which it reacts. What is needed is a more sustained and clear-eyed reconsideration of our situation and a renewed capacity to imagine alternative configurations of the technological order.
technology  SiliconValley  Facebook  ZuckerbergMark  personalData  misuse  ethics  socialMedia  advertising  politics  discourse  HarrisTristan  design 
august 2018 by petej
Alex Stamos, Facebook Data Security Chief, To Leave Amid Outcry - The New York Times
Mr. Stamos would be the first high-ranking employee to leave Facebook since controversy over disinformation on its site. Company leaders — including Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer — have struggled to address a growing set of problems, including Russian interference on the platform, the rise of false news and the disclosure over the weekend that 50 million of its user profiles had been harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a voter-profiling company.

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The developments have taken a toll internally, said the seven people briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the proceedings were confidential. Some of the company’s executives are weighing their own legacies and reputations as Facebook’s image has taken a beating. Several believe the company would have been better off saying little about Russian interference and note that other companies, such as Twitter, which have stayed relatively quiet on the issue, have not had to deal with as much criticism.

One central tension at Facebook has been that of the legal and policy teams versus the security team. The security team generally pushed for more disclosure about how nation states had misused the site, but the legal and policy teams have prioritized business imperatives, said the people briefed on the matter.

“The people whose job is to protect the user always are fighting an uphill battle against the people whose job is to make money for the company,” said Sandy Parakilas, who worked at Facebook enforcing privacy and other rules until 2012 and now advises a nonprofit organization called the Center for Humane Technology, which is looking at the effect of technology on people.
Facecook  socialMedia  misinformation  security  misuse  disclosure  transparency  Russia  interference  StamosAlex  ZuckerbergMark 
march 2018 by petej
“This Is Serious”: Facebook Begins Its Downward Spiral | Vanity Fair
But one thing is certain. For years, Zuckerberg and Facebook have tromped through the technology landscape and demolished everything that stood in the way. This was done without any reprisal, without any consequence. In fact, each time the company destroyed a competitor, or found a way around traditional regulatory concerns, the valuation of Facebook would go up. But now, it seems that all of those actions are coming back to haunt the company, and social media as a whole. Facebook was always famous for the sign that hung in its offices, written in big red type on a white background, that said “Move Fast and Break Things.” And every time I think about the company, I realize it has done just that—to itself. But I think that Zuckerberg, and the people who work at Facebook, also realize that the things they have broken are things that are going to be very difficult to put back together.
Facebook  ZuckerbergMark  business  power  socialMedia  privacy  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  competition  ruthlessness 
january 2018 by petej
Facebook’s war on free will | Technology | The Guardian
The engineering mindset has little patience for the fetishisation of words and images, for the mystique of art, for moral complexity or emotional expression. It views humans as data, components of systems, abstractions. That’s why Facebook has so few qualms about performing rampant experiments on its users. The whole effort is to make human beings predictable – to anticipate their behaviour, which makes them easier to manipulate. With this sort of cold-blooded thinking, so divorced from the contingency and mystery of human life, it’s easy to see how long-standing values begin to seem like an annoyance – why a concept such as privacy would carry so little weight in the engineer’s calculus, why the inefficiencies of publishing and journalism seem so imminently disruptable.

Facebook would never put it this way, but algorithms are meant to erode free will, to relieve humans of the burden of choosing, to nudge them in the right direction. Algorithms fuel a sense of omnipotence, the condescending belief that our behaviour can be altered, without our even being aware of the hand guiding us, in a superior direction. That’s always been a danger of the engineering mindset, as it moves beyond its roots in building inanimate stuff and begins to design a more perfect social world. We are the screws and rivets in the grand design.
Facebook  algorithms  artificialIntelligence  surveillance  control  nudge  ZuckerbergMark  hacking  openness  transparency  behaviour  identity  digitalIdentity  multiplicity  engineering  politics  USA  SiliconValley  manipulation  power  dctagged  dc:creator=FoerFranklin 
september 2017 by petej
John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017
"What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook."

"Here in the rich world, the focus is more on monetisation, and it’s in this area that I have to admit something which is probably already apparent. I am scared of Facebook. The company’s ambition, its ruthlessness, and its lack of a moral compass scare me. It goes back to that moment of its creation, Zuckerberg at his keyboard after a few drinks creating a website to compare people’s appearance, not for any real reason other than that he was able to do it. That’s the crucial thing about Facebook, the main thing which isn’t understood about its motivation: it does things because it can. Zuckerberg knows how to do something, and other people don’t, so he does it. Motivation of that type doesn’t work in the Hollywood version of life, so Aaron Sorkin had to give Zuck a motive to do with social aspiration and rejection. But that’s wrong, completely wrong. He isn’t motivated by that kind of garden-variety psychology. He does this because he can, and justifications about ‘connection’ and ‘community’ are ex post facto rationalisations. The drive is simpler and more basic. That’s why the impulse to growth has been so fundamental to the company, which is in many respects more like a virus than it is like a business. Grow and multiply and monetise. Why? There is no why. Because.

Automation and artificial intelligence are going to have a big impact in all kinds of worlds. These technologies are new and real and they are coming soon. Facebook is deeply interested in these trends. We don’t know where this is going, we don’t know what the social costs and consequences will be, we don’t know what will be the next area of life to be hollowed out, the next business model to be destroyed, the next company to go the way of Polaroid or the next business to go the way of journalism or the next set of tools and techniques to become available to the people who used Facebook to manipulate the elections of 2016. We just don’t know what’s next, but we know it’s likely to be consequential, and that a big part will be played by the world’s biggest social network. On the evidence of Facebook’s actions so far, it’s impossible to face this prospect without unease."
Facebook  socialMedia  ZuckerbergMark  attention  business  psychology  ThielPeter  mimeticDesire  GiraudRene  filterBubble  identity  fakeNews  misinformation  Russia  TrumpDonald  advertising  surveillance  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  targeting  personalData  monetisation  tracking  Experian  creditCards  algorithms  auctions  Google  monopoly  duopoly  manipulation  emotion  happiness  mentalHealth  dctagged  dc:creator=LanchesterJohn  LRB 
august 2017 by petej
Platform Capitalism and the Government of the Social. Facebook’s ‘Global Community’ | TRU
To sum it up, for me this letter makes it even more clear how Silicon Valley is formulating what Foucault would describe as a new ‘political rationality’ which takes on the legacy of liberalism and neoliberalism in identifying as the main problem the government of populations (billions of users), the maximisation of their social, political and cultural life, and the protection from ‘’risks’, ‘harms’ and ‘errors’ inherent in the circulation of information (false news, sensationalism, polarization, divisiveness, terrorism, climate change and pandemics). This is accomplished within a market economy that never questions ownership or accumulation. Together with the smart city movement, platform capitalism intensifies its vocation to become a new form of social government.
ZuckerbergMark  Facebook  socialMedia  platformCapitalism  filterBubble  misinformation  fakeNews  TrumpDonald  globalisation  politics  government  platforms 
february 2017 by petej
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