Techdirt Podcast Episode 160: Overreacting To Facebook's Mistakes Won't Solve Anything

from the but-they-aren't-blameless-either dept

Facebook. Cambridge Analytica. Need I say more? There’s plenty to discuss. Among them is the question of similarities between what happened and the Obama campaign — which is why we’re lucky to be joined this week by Catherine Bracy, who led the Obama campaign’s San Francisco tech office, and worked on its Facebook app, for a discussion about what really went down with Cambridge Analytica, and all the misinformation that’s out there.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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Companies: cambridge analytica, facebook

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Comments on “Techdirt Podcast Episode 160: Overreacting To Facebook's Mistakes Won't Solve Anything”

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Anonymous Coward says:

They weren't mistakes

These actions were calculated, planned, and executed very deliberately. To mischaracterize them as “mistakes” misses the most fundamental thing about them.

Every action that Facebook has ever taken has been driven by the ego of sociopath Mark Zuckerberg. He’s a monster. He’s evil to the bone. And the only thing in this world that he cares about is Mark Zuckerberg. When you understand and accept this, you will realize that it completely and perfectly explains Facebook.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: They weren't mistakes

Every action that Facebook has ever taken has been driven by the ego of sociopath Mark Zuckerberg. He’s a monster. He’s evil to the bone.

Yeah. See, this is the kind of ridiculous overreaction that will lead to bad results. This is the very thing we’re talking about.

Facebook has made lots of dumb decisions, but to immediately jump to "and thus he is evil to the bone" is not a serious critique and provides only one bit of useful information: that whoever said it is foolish.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: They weren't mistakes

Agreed. I’ve been seeing people foam over the issue for all the wrong reasons. When you tell them they should be foaming but (for instance) FB selling data is not the real problem because they didn’t sell any info to CA then people start foaming at you as if you are the monster because of course FB must be selling data because to access the API it must be sold access. I kind of gave up trying to explain.

fairuse (profile) says:

Re: Re: They weren't mistakes

My thought that current reactions to [put any issue here] could never get as strange as Netflix “Black Mirror” eps 306 where social platform took some OverTheTop video response by [celebrity] and the users could vote the death of said person after 17:00 — A game.

The Reaction
The posts by users read like a lynch mob. Players thought no real people got killed.

Guy that designed The Honey Bee Control used that hardware as a weapon. Of course the nutter manifesto was about users acting like animals and there is a cost to that.

{spoiler ending hide}

Naturally the TV show is an extreme presentation making a point about human nature. Put a large number of people in the same space with no restraint on what is said like, “He’s a monster. He’s evil to the bone” can start the group running for virtual rope & tree. I really miss moderated forums.

“The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones” – Nathan S. Lewis

Sok Puppette (profile) says:


Breaches like that are intrinsic to Facebook’s entire business model and Facebook’s entire technical architecture… which is the same business model and the same technical architecture that all the other “platforms” have.

If you collect the data in a central place, and let other centralized actors have access to them, then you WILL have failures like that. If I can give your “app” permission to process my data, and if your “app” can simultaneously have permission to talk directly to you or to any third party, then my data WILL eventually get misused.

That’s independent of the good will or lack thereof of the people operating it, by the way. It just plain WILL fail constantly. It’s broken by design. It can never work right.

The correct reaction is to completely dismantle the entire “platform-based” structure of social networking. All of it. Shutting down Facebook would be a good start.

I suspect that the things you’re calling “overreaction” are a lot less extreme than that correct reaction…

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