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Facebook Can't Be Fixed, It Needs To Be Broken Up
The company is a monopoly whose business model is surveillance and manipulation of users. Regulation alone won't change that.

04.10.18 1:27 PM ET

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is headed to Capitol Hill this week to testify on the many ways the social media titan violates its users' privacy, including the now infamous connection with a data analysis firm tied to the Trump campaign.

Zuckerberg is expected to apologize profusely and lay out new steps that Facebook will take to prevent such scandals from occurring in the future. The damage control effort is unprecedented in the company's history.

Don't buy it. Facebook is a corporate monopoly whose very business model is surveillance and user manipulation. It is a threat to our democracy and nothing short of breaking it up can protect our data and ensure that Facebook serves its users, instead of the other way around. Members of Congress and antitrust law enforcers need to investigate and address Facebook's monopoly power.

The mess related to the 2016 election is, of course, not the first time that Facebook has violated its users' privacy in ways that it only disclosed after those violations became public. In fact, Zuckerberg has publicly apologized seven times for violating user privacy since starting Facebook. And that's because such violations are simply inherent to what Facebook does; it relies on the intimate surveillance of every user to deduce how to emotionally manipulate each person in her own way, and then rents out that information to spies, con artists, racist landlords, and anyone else who will pay up.

There is no other social media company today that has the enormous global reach combined with the personal intimacy and immediate engagement of Facebook. There are more than 200 million users in the United States, with more than halfof all American adults accessing it every day, and almost 2 billion worldwide. It accounts for 77 percent of mobile social networking traffic in the U.S. Through its ownership of WhatsApp and Instagram, that reach is even greater.

Facebook is also the leading way that most Americans get their news. According to the Pew Research Center, just shy of half of all Americans get their news on Facebook  far more reach than any other social media site.

Those numbers are why Facebook is such a ripe target for those who would use your personal data to various unsavory ends. And like most monopolists, Facebook prioritizes profits over the safety of its users. For instance, Cambridge Analytica, the firm involved in the 2016 election, harvested data from up to 87 million Facebook users in America. And that's just the start: Facebook last week revealed that it's possible bad actors scraped the data of every single user.

Zuckerberg Gaslights Congress
But this abuse hasn't happened in a vacuum. Facebook spends millions of dollars on corporate lobbyists, academics, and D.C. think tanks to ensure no one gets in its way at either the federal or state level. Its bottom line depends on lawmakers and regulators allowing it to operate with impunity and sell off access to your mind to the highest bidder.

Even with the spate of bad news the company has faced, Facebook executives have thus far been unable or unwilling to adequately answer how the corporation and third-party developers will stop malevolent actors from manipulating us. And it's unlikely that Zuckerberg or anyone else at the company will trot out a viable solution during their apology tour this week. Facebook's business model prevents it from solving these problems.

"Facebook's business model prevents it from solving these problems."
Instead, the government needs to step in and eliminate the source of the problem, which is the company's monopoly power.

First, Congress needs to impose strict privacy rules on Facebook immediately, perhaps using Europe's new privacy regulations as a guide.  Zuckerberg has said those regulations may not applyto the company's American users, so lawmakers must force his hand.

Next, antitrust enforcers need to break up Facebook, by taking actions like spinning off WhatsApp and Instagram to create competing social networks. Then they should prohibit acquisitions by Facebook for at least five years, to give competitors time and space to grow and challenge Facebook's supremacy.

Finally, if top executives like Zuckerberg knowingly violated privacy rules, they should be held accountable and personally fined for it. There are also several other stepsregulators can take to ensure that Facebook's monopoly power is reduced and its stranglehold on Americans' data released.

No single private corporation should have as much power over our lives as Facebook does. Even if Facebook's executives are sincere in their promises and believe that they know what it takes to fix the problems outlined here, Americans deserve to be protected by law. There's simply too much at stake to allow Facebook to continue toying with our privacy based on its bottom line, rather than on what's in the interest of everyone around the world who relies on the social network.
Having watched for over three hours, I have several observations on the Zuckerberg testimony:

1) When you think about it, the people whose data was used by Cambridge Analytica aren't the ones who are complaining. This Cambridge Analytica flap is only a battle between one group of dirt-bags against another group of dirt-bags and they are both fighting over the dog bone of OUR DATA. Its not a privacy issue. It is a battle of abuser vs abuser.

2) The idea was tossed up at the hearings that maybe Facebook should be required to make sure PUTIN IS NOT PUTTING OUT FAKE NEWS INSIDE RUSSIA ITSELF. This is how wierd this can get.

3) Facial recognition software is apparently considered a terribly dangerous item. Why? I don't get it.

4) You will never be able to keep Russians from indirectly buying ads to influence our elections through American sources. (Russia has hardly been mentioned in these hearings at all).

5) The default should always be for more information available rather than less information available.

6) The biggest question mark is: why is "fake news" a problem? I think I can recognize fake news when I see it. Why do I need a third party to identify and protect me from "fake news"? The "fake news" issue has been around at least since Gutenberg invented the printing press. Today, it's a thinly disguised attempt at censorship.

7) The code-word "data scraping" is a biased epithet like "dreamers" or "rust belt." If I want to buy an add that is targeted to Bernie Sanders fans, why shouldn't I be able to do it? Why is that a bad thing? It's the politicians who don't want anybody to reach into their weak spots politically. This whole "data scraping" concept is nothing but selfish self-protection for politicians and nothing more, in my judgement.

8) The predominant model for reference to me is the old Bell Telephone model. No one ever expected the telephone company to police obscene phone calls or harassing phone calls. The phone company was never responsible for what people said over the phone lines. So why should Facebook be asked to be accountable for what people pass over and through their network? What's the difference between Facebook and Bell Telephone?

James Lateer
They just need to leave it alone. But not sell our info to anyone. Who the hell decides what is "fake news"? The Russian hysteria is all fake news. They did not influence the election. Period. Now we are close to world war three again over lies. You tube has gotten terrible about censoring. I love RT but youtube is blocking it. More honest news about the deep state on RT but we can't have Americans hearing that.
My two cents.
I agree entirely with this article. I have never had a Facebook account (not a social media user at all) but I understand that they likely have a profile built for me because many of my friends and family have accounts and have me listed in their contacts on their "smart" phones (I don't have one of those either) and have also purchased information from data brokers that likely contains my information. That's just reprehensible and puts the lie to the rejoinder that if you don't like what Facebook does then just don't use it. Well I've never used it (I even refused to be included in my company's Facebook Workplace system) and they may still have, and are probably abusing my data - and all without informing me.

Facebook is constrained by their business model which is selling "targeted" advertising. All of the high-minded BS about "community building" and "social connections" is just the cover story. Without the raw material of information they can't survive. Furthermore, they enable the abuse of this data by third parties accessing the data they have collected via their platform API and also enable surreptitious data collection by third parties through "games", "quizzes" and "polls" that have little value to their consumers but are designed to trawl through all sorts of personal information on the consumer's device without adequate, informed consent (yeah, buried in the settings there may be descriptions and possibly controls for this stuff but they're obviously designed to not be found or to be difficult to use effectively - FB itself has a history of doing this).

They are clearly a monopoly and have gone to great lengths to buy up existing competitors and crowd out potential competitors through their market power. The will never self-regulate and have shown that they will continue their current practices despite the current outcries and disingenuous mea culpas by Zuckerberg.

Personally I would like to see the entire social media thing just disappear but I will settle for FB being broken up and the European standards for personal privacy and data ownership being imposed not only on FB but all of the competitors spawned by its break up as well as any other Internet and non-Internet businesses that engage in the same type of data collection practices.

Facebook, This Is Not What "Complete User Control" Looks Like

APRIL 11, 2018

[Image: zuck-1.jpg]

If you watched even a bit of Mark Zuckerberg's ten hours of congressional testimony over the past two days, then you probably heard him proudly explain how users have "complete control" via "inline" privacy controls over everything they share on the platform. Zuckerberg's language here misses the critical distinction between the information a person actively shares, and the information that Facebook takes from users without their knowledge or consent.
Zuckerberg's insistence that users have "complete control" neatly overlooks all the ways that users unwittingly "share" information with Facebook.
Of course, there are the things you actively choose to share, like photos or status updates, and those indeed come with settings to limit their audience. That is the kind of sharing that Zuckerberg seemed to be addressing in many of his answers to Congressmembers' questions.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface are Facebook's often-invisible methods for collecting and generating information on users without their knowledge or consent, including (but not limited to):
Users don't share this information with Facebook. It's been activelyand silentlytaken from them.
This stands in stark contrast to Zuckerberg's claim, while on the record with reporters last week, that "the vast majority of data that Facebook knows about you is because you chose to share it." And he doubled down on this talking point in his testimony to both the Senate and the House, using it to dodge questions about the full breadth of Facebook's data collection.
Zuckerberg's insistence that users have complete control is a smokescreen.
Zuckerberg's insistence that users have complete control is a smokescreen. Many members of Congress wanted to know not just how users can control what their friends and friends-of-friends see. They wanted to know how to control what third-party apps, advertisers, and Facebook itself are able to collect, store, and analyze. This goes far beyond what users can see on their pages and newsfeeds.
Facebook's ethos of connection and growth at all costs cannot coexist with users' privacy rights. Facebook operates by collecting, storing, and making it easy to find unprecedented amounts of user data. Until that changes in a meaningful way, the privacy concerns that spurred these hearings are here to stay.

Wow, I just posted an article on fb with the caption "Americans are so stupid" and facebook has blocked me for 24 hours as a result. Of course it had to do with the new fake news from Bibi. No actually I think I posted that on an article Maggie posted. Asswipes.
Dawn Meredith Wrote:Wow, I just posted an article on fb with the caption "Americans are so stupid" and facebook has blocked me for 24 hours as a result. Of course it had to do with the new fake news from Bibi. No actually I think I posted that on an article Maggie posted. Asswipes.

This is what I fear about FB too, Dawn. You have a far bigger following than I do, because I restrict access to just family and trusted friends. But I even have difficulty posting certain articles at times and have to find more creative ways for get-arounds.

It doesn't bode well. Sadly.
Ya my comment "offended community standards".

Dawn Meredith Wrote:Ya my comment "offended community standards".


America is the exceptional shining light on the hilltop says Facebook's office of 'community standards' time you will be punished more harshly for thinking - nay daring to speak - the Truth!

Facebook sold out to the NSA very early [as Snowden documented], everything one puts into it [along with its powerful algorithms to know who you know, what you like, what you buy, what you watch and listen to, who you talk to and associate with, etc....everything about you, including your photo, finger print in many cases, address, official documents on you, thoughts ranked by computer, politics rated by computer et al. are stored and USED by a variety of advertisers, political manipulators, intelligence agencies, police agencies, Big Brother and his sister, THEM. It is Orwellian. Now their new algorithms steer people away from leftie thinking and questioning the 'system' to rightward thinking and accepting the system as the best 'of all possible worlds'. Along with Google and all the rest of the 1984 social media it is a frightening scene. I remember very well in eighth-grade English-special-class a discussion on if Brave New World and 1984's distopian realities could happen in our lifetimes. I argued yes and the answer WAS yes. While not yet to that extent, we are well on that path and I see few fighting against it.

A good programmer could easily build a progressive 'facebook' that did not suck up data, spy on its users, and was encrypted. However, NSA and others now have the capability to see into most encryption [not all] and monitor all [ALL] electronic traffic - and if they can't break the encryption now, they still store it and they know who is on each end of the encrypted conversations - and surely those names go on a 'black list'.

I know many operate under the: 1] I have nothing to hide - or 2] they already know what I think and anyway I don't care that they know what I think - 3] they already know all about me, so it is too late to care or back out now rubrics.

Dawn's incident is the canary in the coal mine.....Snowden, Binney and others were the first sound of the Sirens - and that our 'boat is too near their island'.

Something has to be done or we'll have a FULL-BLOWN Police state in very short order. What we have today, IMO, is police state lite - but it can be thrown into full on mode with the literal flip of a switch......
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