‘Call their bluff’: Shut down social media platforms, ex-Facebook adviser urges
A former Facebook adviser is urging governments around the world to shut down social media platforms until they can be reformed.
“If your goals are to protect democracy and personal liberty, you have to be bold. You have to force a radical transformation of the business model of internet platforms,” venture capitalist Roger McNamee told the House of Commons privacy and ethics committee Tuesday morning.
“At the end of the day, though, the most effective path to reform would be to shut down the platforms at least temporarily. …. Any country can go first. The platforms have left you no choice. The time has come to call their bluff.”
McNamee’s comments came as an international committee of MPs in Ottawa renewed their summons for Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and company COO Sheryl Sandberg to appear and give evidence before them. Both ignored the first summons, choosing to send company representatives in their place.
n his testimony, McNamee pointed to Sri Lanka, where authorities turned off the taps on most social media after last month’s Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels killed hundreds of people.
The Sri Lankan government’s official news portal said the actions, which included blocking Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram services, were needed to stop false news reports online.
McNamee, who wrote Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, said “at a minimum” countries should end the platforms’ ability to perform web tracking and to scan emails and documents, and crack down on the platforms’ surveillance of users.
Centre for International Governance Innovation head Jim Balsillie, who became famous as one of the founders of Blackberry maker Research in Motion, also had dire words for the committee.
“Technology is disrupting governance and, if left unchecked, could render liberal democracy obsolete,” he said.
“Data is not the new oil. It’s the new plutonium: amazingly powerful, dangerous when it spreads, difficult to clean up and with serious consequences when improperly used.”
Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg has a lot of control over the company he runs—and the tech giant’s investors aren’t happy about it. As Facebook continues to slog through a series of crises from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to looming antitrust investigations, shareholders signaled their displeasure with the C.E.O.’s outsized influence through a series of votes at a recent shareholder meeting.
Public pension fund leaders from New York, Illinois, and three other states renewed their call for Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to abdicate his role as chairman, citing escalating support among outside investors in the company.
“Facebook’s insular boardroom must be cracked open because the company has no accountability to its users, its investors, or our democracy,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, whose fund controls over $750 million of Facebook stock, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Naming an independent board chair is a necessary first step that is supported by shareowners who own the majority of Facebook shares, but whose voting power is not commensurate with their ownership.”
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs added “it’s time for the company to separate the Board Chair and CEO roles. Right now, Mr. Zuckerberg is both Board Chair and CEO, serving as his own boss, and clearly it’s not working.”
Facebook declined comment on the statements, as well as similar remarks from treasurers from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.
The Facebook investors’ growing frustration with Zuckerberg doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, as the Cambridge Analytica scandal has spurred a tidal wave of scrutiny against Facebook—and likely a hefty fine from the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook shares tumbled even further in the days after the shareholder meeting, as it was revealed that both the F.T.C. and House Judiciary Committee will be ramping up their antitrust oversight over Facebook and other tech companies. And things aren’t too rosy internally at Facebook either: Business Insider reported Tuesday that Facebook is conducting an investigation into the security firm it contracts from in Silicon Valley, which is related to allegations of financial irregularities and security workers creating a hostile work environment.
Sources: Vanity Fair Hive – Story by Alison Durkee June 4 2019; Market Watch – Story by Jon Swartz June 5 2019
15 privacy and consumer protection organizations filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, charging that the site, among other things, manipulates privacy settings to make users’ personal information available for commercial use. Also, some Facebook users found their private chats accessible to everyone on their contact list–a major security breach that’s left a lot of people wondering just how secure the site is.
Your information is being shared with third parties
Privacy settings revert to a less safe default mode after each redesign
Facebook ads may contain malware
Your real friends unknowingly make you vulnerable
Scammers are creating fake profiles
Is Facebook a secure platform to communicate with your friends? Here’s the thing: Facebook is one of the most popular sites in the world. Security holes are being found on a regular basis. It is not as inherently secure as people think it is, when they log on every day.
The potential for crime is real. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, victims of Internet-related crimes lost $876 million in 2018. That was up 63 percent from the previous year. If you’re not careful using Facebook, you are looking at the potential for identity theft, or possibly even something like assault, if you share information with a dangerous person you think is actually a “friend.” One British police agency recently reported that the number of crimes it has responded to in the last year involving Facebook climbed 346 percent. These are real threats. it seems a week doesn’t go by without some news about a Facebook-related security problem.
And the site is constantly under attack from hackers trying to spam these users, or harvest their data, or run other scams. Certainly, there is a lot of criticism in the security community of Facebook’s handling of security. Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that the company rarely responds to inquiries.
Do people really have privacy on Facebook? No. There are all kinds of ways third parties can access information about you. For instance, you may not realize that, when you are playing the popular games on Facebook, or take those popular quizzes–every time you do that, you authorize an application to be downloaded to your profile that gives information to third parties about you that you have never signed off on. It actually is basically a way to share the information in your profile with all kinds of third parties, such as advertisers, so they can have a better idea of your interests and what you are discussing, so Facebook can–as portrayed–“make it a more personal experience.”
Isn’t it in Facebook’s best interest to get you to share as much info as possible? It absolutely is. Facebook’s mission is to get you to share as much information as it can so it can share it with advertisers. As it looks now, the more info you share, the more money it is going to make with advertisers.
Isn’t there also a security problem every time it redesigns the site? Every time Facebook redesigns the site, which [usually] happens a few times a year, it puts your privacy settings back to a default in which, essentially, all of your information is made public. It is up to you, the user, to check the privacy settings and decide what you want to share and what you don’t want to share.
Facebook does not [necessarily] notify you of the changes, and your privacy settings are set back to a public default. Many times, you may find out through friends. Facebook is not alerting you to these changes; it is just letting you know the site has been redesigned.
Can your real friends on Facebook also can make you vulnerable? Absolutely. Your security is only as good as your friend’s security. If someone in your network of friends has a weak password, and his or her profile is hacked, he or she can now send you malware, for example.
There is a common scam called a 419 scam, in which someone hacks your profile and sends messages to your friends asking for money – claiming to be you–saying, “Hey, I was in London, I was mugged, please wire me money.” People fall for it. People think their good friend needs help–and end up wiring money to Nigeria.
The last publications that had as much fake news as Facebook were probably some rags like the National Enquirer or Weekly World News.
Today’s crop of fools have largely replaced these old printed versions of garbage with their new favourite source of swill – Facebook. All the fake news, bullshit, and distortions of the truth that you can fill your addled brain with!
“Beyond the anecdotal evidence, numerous articles found that pages and accounts dedicated to spreading hyper partisan fake news were becoming more active on Facebook. Sometimes fake news articles were spread even further by Facebook itself. Its algorithms would insert fake news stories into Trending Topics. It wasn’t just in the U.S. that fake news was making headlines. In the period leading up to the U.K.’s Brexit referendum or the Philippines’ election of hardliner Rodrigo Duterte or, most recently, Brazil’s election of Jair Bolsonaro, users turned to Facebook or its other apps — Instagram and WhatsApp — to share hyper partisan or fake political news. In a horrifying turn of events, fake news was even spread on Facebook as the pretext for ethnic cleansing, as was the case in Myanmar.” (Anna Hensel – Venture Beat)
Sites such as Facebook are largely responsible for creating the partisan environment that allows false information to spread online like a contagious virus. British filmmaker Adam Curtis aptly describes the process in his 2016 documentary, “Hypernormalisation,” telling how the algorithms and filters on social media have gravely limited the content people see.
“In the process, individuals began to move, without noticing, into bubbles that isolated them from enormous amounts of other information,” Curtis says. “They only heard and saw what they liked. And their news feeds increasingly excluded anything that might challenge peoples’ preexisting beliefs.” (Center for Digital Ethics and Policy)
Facebook dominates our culture in ways that are impossible to fully articulate. To claim with certainty that it didn’t influence the 2016 presidential election, or many other major events, is specious. The platform undoubtedly influences the world by virtue of its market and cultural dominance. If such domination is indeed Facebook’s goal, the company has an ethical obligation to ensure that its users are not totally misinformed. (David Stockdale – in an article for Center for Digital Ethics and Policy)
Zuckerberg and his merry band of bloodsucking vampires are at it again.
Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Sandberg could be found in contempt.
Starting today, the House of Commons’s privacy and ethics committee in Canada will be joined by elected officials from around the world to discuss data collection, privacy online and democracy.
The committee had extended invites to the some of the most well-known tech players, including Facebook, Twitter and Google. Senators and government officials from around the world are to join Canada’s privacy and ethics committee as they hear from witnesses.
When no one responded to the invitations, the committee voted to subpoena Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to appear as witnesses.
“You have a company that acts with complete disregard for the democratic systems that we’ve put in place… To me that’s just unbelievable that a company could be that dismissive and I think they have to be held accountable.”
If Canada thinks that Zuckerberg, in all of his supreme smugness and arrogance, is going to pay attention to a Canadian subpoena, it has another think coming. What a joke. Last year lawmakers from nine countries were disappointed when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg didn’t appear in front of an international hearing on Britain’s parliament on disinformation.
The Fakebook machine will continue to defy ethics and the law by providing a platform for artificial news, subliminal advertising, stealing of personal data, political manipulation, haters, gossipers, wannabes, posers, and all the rest of the fools out there who want to embrace that trash.
There is no dispute that the Facebook video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) viewed by millions is a fake, deliberately altered to make her appear drunk. YouTube acted fast and removed duplicates. Other social media outlets have not made the same call.
Facebook acknowledged the video is “false” but said the videos would remain on the platform.
Amid fierce calls across the public and government for Facebook to remove the video — which has been viewed 2.6 million times — and others like it, a Facebook official took to CNN on Friday to defend its decision.
Monika Bickert, a company vice president for product policy and counterterrorism, said the video was reviewed by fact-checking organizations, and after it deemed the video a hoax, the company “dramatically” reduced its distribution. But Facebook did not remove the video, Bickert said.
“We think it’s important for people to make their own informed choice for what to believe. Our job is to make sure we are getting them accurate information,” she said.
Zuckerberg and his band of henchmen are a bunch of lying evil SHYSTERS!
So if you’re a Facebook user, it’s now important to ask yourself, “Is spending your time on Facebook actually making you happier?”
If you’re the type to just view what your friends are up to, read articles, and scroll down your wall, it’s likely hurting your happiness.
A few studies have shown that using Facebook passively like this can lead to upward social comparisons. When you compare yourself to the best qualities of others on Facebook, suddenly you like yourself less. You know, like when you see the accomplishments of your so-called friends and you start questioning whether you’ve done enough with your life. Or when you see the fancy-ass meals your co-workers are posting before eating, and then you wonder if you are boring because, let’s face it, you never do anything cool or fun.
It’s human nature to compare yourself to others, but on Facebook, everyone is presenting the best versions of themselves. So you always compare upward and end up feeling like you’re not good enough.
Most of the crap people post is fake, or exaggerated, anyway. POSERS.
The little green envy monster can make you feel inferior, hostile, and resentful. These emotions can actually harm your social relationships instead of supporting them while making you feel miserable in the process.
If you’re looking for the easiest possible way to find out if Facebook is making you miserable, take some time off. Then ask yourself if you felt better. If it did, consider taking more time off. Like, FOREVER.