Facebook and I have been separated since 2014. Today I’m making it permanent, Facebook and I are saying Goodbye for good.
Over the past 10 days since the Cambridge Analytica scandal was first made public, Facebook has faced a market loss of about $75 billion. It is abundantly clear that the reason for Facebook’s predicament is a fast and loose understanding of the principal of “user privacy.”
Each successive violation has reinforced this perception and revealed yet new ways of trampling on user trust and goodwill. Over the course of a decade, many straws have been added to this camels back, each incrementally pushing the boundaries of users’ privacy concerns. Some of these stand out, listed below in reverse order:
2018 — In a newly leaked memo, Facebook said the company’s drive to connect people online was a good thing even if “someone dies in a terrorist attack” planned and coodinated through the company’s FaceBook platform.
2016 — Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign harvested Facebook data of millions of people using an app that asked them to pair their Facebook friends list with their smartphone’s contacts list – in a bid to reach those people and persuade them to vote for Clinton.
2015 — Facebook finds out that information had been harvested by Cambridge Analytica. However, at the time it failed to alert users for two years and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals.
2014 — A whistleblower revealed how Cambridge Analytica used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters. It used the information in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.
2014 — A study is published of a secret social experiment conducted by Facebook in 2012 on 689003 of its user accounts, without their knowledge. Facebook conducted the experiment in order to test their capacity to secretly alter the emotional temperature of it’s users. This Orwellian turn of events was the final straw, for me anyway.
2014 — Facebook is the defendant in a class action lawsuit in California for allegedly violating its members’ right to privacy. Facebook is being sued by members who claim the company intercepts users’ private messages, without their consent, and that Facebook mines this data for profit.
2010 — Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) identified two personal information aggregation techniques called “connections” and “instant personalization,” a pilot program which shared Facebook information with affiliated sites. The program enabled access by anyone to information saved to a Facebook profile, even if the information was intended to be kept private.
It’s time to leave Facebook.