Facebook is not honoring its side of the data deal with users

I think everyone has “Facebook Article Exhaustion” right now. But Brian Barrett’s Facebook Owes You More Than This makes a somber, important point:

This is not a screed about deleting your Facebook account. It’s not a rant about online ads. It is an argument, though, that Facebook has been a poor steward of your data, asking more and more of you without giving you more in return—and often not even bothering to ask. It has repeatedly failed to keep up its side of the deal, and expressed precious little interest in making good.

If you feel exasperated by the whole Facebook privacy debacle, I think this article will help make sense of some of those feelings. One more quote:

But as Facebook collects more and more data, and offers advertisers more and more tools to monetize it, the benefit to you seems not to have grown in kind. You get an ever-shifting algorithm designed to keep you scrolling, which the company’s own research suggests can leave you “feeling worse afterward.” You get dozens of Russian propagandists flooding millions of News Feeds with high-emotion content designed to undermine US democracy, with slow and incomplete disclosures about the impact. And you get ads for the same pair of shoes—that you already bought—trailing you for months.


Also check out the always excellent Paul Ford’s Facebook Is Why We Need a Digital Protection Agency, in which he calls for a digital equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency. His reasoning:

The activist and internet entrepreneur Maciej Ceglowski once described big data as “a bunch of radioactive, toxic sludge that we don’t know how to handle.” Maybe we should think about Google and Facebook as the new polluters. Their imperative is to grow! They create jobs! They pay taxes, sort of! In the meantime, they’re dumping trillions of units of toxic brain poison into our public-thinking reservoir. Then they mop it up with Wikipedia or send out a message that reads, “We take your privacy seriously.”