Do People Want A Better Facebook, Or A Dead Facebook?

from the there's-a-difference dept

The question in the title is one that I actually think is worth discussing, because seeing the reactions to both Mark Zuckerberg’s announced plans for greater privacy in Facebook’s messaging tools, and to Elizabeth Warren’s not very well thought out plan to break up Facebook, it seems quite clear that some people just want the company dead at any cost. Indeed, I’ve seen a lot of people pointing to this AP article, derisively, about how Facebook’s plans for more privacy are all a misleading game because the the company might profit from it.

As if that’s a bad thing.

For years, we kept getting told that the reason big companies like Facebook and Google didn’t treat user privacy very carefully was because there was profit in scooping up all our data, and that there were no profits in privacy. This was seen as a problem. Yet, now that Facebook is exploring ways to provide more privacy and snoop less, some are still complaining that it might profit from it? Shouldn’t we want to see business models that align with protecting user privacy? Shouldn’t we want companies to realize that protecting user privacy both can and should be profitable as well? Won’t that encourage companies to move away from data surveillance business models into ones that are more respectful to end users?

That’s why I highlighted the positive concepts in Zuckerberg’s post. Because I think it’s good to encourage companies to go in the right direction.

But many people, clearly, do not agree. And, as far as I can tell, the thinking is that they don’t care about a better Facebook or a Facebook that protects privacy. All they want is a damaged or (even better) a dead Facebook. And, frankly, that kind of thinking makes no sense to me. Look, I’m all for something better coming along and killing off Facebook that way. I’m all for creative destruction — especially the kind that destroys big stodgy businesses by giving their customers a much, much better experience. But, focusing just on killing off Facebook for no reason other than “company bad” doesn’t make much sense. Like it or not, billions of people use Facebook.

And most people can agree that Facebook has a history of fairly egregious behavior at times, but slamming the company for finally doing something positive, doesn’t seem particularly productive. It doesn’t encourage other companies to do the right thing either. Sure, it makes sense if your goal is just a “dead Facebook,” but arguing for a “dead Facebook” for no other reason than you just don’t like Facebook is irrational. I want to see more competition in the marketplace, and I’d love to see Facebook not be as dominant. But I’d also greatly prefer a Facebook that is a good actor, rather than a bad one.

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Comments on “Do People Want A Better Facebook, Or A Dead Facebook?”

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109 Comments
hij (profile) says:

I just want to be left alone

Personally, I just want to be left alone by Facebook. There is no opt out, and I have to go in to each of my browsers and manually block their sites from running javascript. I also have to figure out which sites they are using since they use multiple sites such as facebook.com, fb.com, and whatever else. I have no idea how other sites share my information with them.

Unfortunately, the nature of the web makes it extremely difficult for them to ignore me and for me to ignore any company worming their way into a large percentage of the pages on the intertubz. The company is too big and making too much money from information so it is extremely difficult to get away from them. At the same time I recognize many others do the same thing but just happen to have a little less reach.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

And, frankly, that kind of thinking makes no sense to me.

It makes sense if you don’t start from the perspective of assuming that Facebook, with its long track record of outright contempt towards privacy, is sincere in their claims that they care about privacy now.

Like it or not, billions of people use Facebook.

Billions of people also used leaded gasoline. That doesn’t mean that doing away with it wasn’t a very good thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, it was years and years of fighting and denial before anyone even took lead seriously. Then things started crawling forward with the petroleum and auto industries to get away from leaded gasoline. And it still wasn’t a good deal because there are so many other things with fossil fuel-powered internal combustion engines that lead almost seems funny.

So find a Facebook or similar engineer 20 years from now to spend half their adult life being mocked while trying to convince the IT sector and Congress that someone should put a stop to one small piece of the industry’s bullshit.

That’s your leaded gasoline.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just because you don’t like it, that doesn’t mean there aren’t millions who do. They will go somewhere else, and you might like what they choose rather less.

That’s why you have to use sense about these things, not just use emotional responses and pretend everything will be a blissful utopia if only you could get rid of that one thing you don’t personally like.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

We banned it, but preceded the ban with a phase out. Leaded and unleaded gasoline were sold at the same time, and the phase out of lead took 20 years. It wasn’t until 1996 that the full ban went into place, though at that point leaded gasoline only accounted for 0.6% of sales, and lead formulations had lower concentrations then in the past when the final ban took hold.

The issue is you associate Facebook with the lead, rather than the bad practices. The sale of lead was the bad practice. Facebook has value to me, and I trade off levels of privacy for that value.

Mike’s point, in my mind, is that people have claimed that they dislike the business practices, and then go so far as to say the concept of Facebook making money is the problem. That making money by changing business practices (and it wouldn’t be the first time) doesn’t matter. They don’t dislike the business practices, they dislike the business. The argumentation becomes worthless, because any effort to argue how to reign in Facebook wont be enough, unless Facebook is closed. Any attempt to discuss the merits of the Facebook proposal is worthless, because the entire idea is tainted forever by association with Facebook.

You can hold that Facebook is bad and corrupt in its current form, and still argue that the ideas it is ostensibly arguing for are good ones. You can then also simultaneously argue that Facebook can’t be trusted. But mike seemed to be noting that people are attacking the ideas in its statement are bad because facebook expresses them, and that’s a logical fallacy.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Mike’s point, in my mind, is that people have claimed that they dislike the business practices, and then go so far as to say the concept of Facebook making money is the problem.

And as far as I can tell, Mike’s point is objectively wrong. If you look at the linked article, it doesn’t actually say that. Sure, the word "profit" is in the headline, but the objections people are raising in the article actually are most of the same stuff that people here are pointing out: that Facebook simply can’t be trusted.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Mike’s point, in my mind, is that people have claimed that they dislike the business practices, and then go so far as to say the concept of Facebook making money is the problem. That making money by changing business practices (and it wouldn’t be the first time) doesn’t matter. They don’t dislike the business practices, they dislike the business. The argumentation becomes worthless, because any effort to argue how to reign in Facebook wont be enough, unless Facebook is closed. Any attempt to discuss the merits of the Facebook proposal is worthless, because the entire idea is tainted forever by association with Facebook.

But who is claiming that?

This appears to be the relevant quote from the linked article:

The merged messaging services should generate new profits from the metadata they collect, including information on who you message, when you do it, from where and for how long, said Frederike Kaltheuner of the advocacy group Privacy International. That is the information that users leave behind when they message each other or conduct retail, travel or financial business, she added.

The objection there isn’t that Facebook is profiting. It’s that, even under its latest proposal, it’s profiting from selling user data.

It’s difficult to accept a company’s word when it says it’s taking user privacy seriously while continuing to profit from selling user data.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I wouldn’t label 100LL as a fuel of the 1% — plenty of it goes to small aircraft used for flight instruction and miscellaneous commercial airwork (such as banner tow, pipeline patrol, and aerial survey). It’s also far harder to develop a "drop in" replacement for 100LL, because said replacement has to work in planes that require high octane and/or predate widespread use of unleaded fuels without modifying the plane. (If you have to modify the plane extensively to accept this new unleaded fuel, you might as well toss an aero-diesel or turboprop engine in and run on Jet-A at that point…)

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: Lead

Lead was originally added to gasoline as a lubricant for internal combustion engines.

The introduction of catalytic converters in the 70’s to reduce emissions demonstrated that lead would render a catalytic converter useless rather quickly.

The motor vehicle manufacturers mandated the of use unleaded fuel to protect the catalytic converter and the EPA got involved in enforcing that.

Clearly we need to get the EPA involved with Facebook.

Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re: Lead

"Lead was originally added to gasoline as a lubricant for internal combustion engines"

That was a side effect. It was added as an anti-knock agent originally.

"Regular or Ethyl?"

Biggest problem isn’t with the tetraethyllead itself, but after combustion it releases water-soluble lead compounds.

You can still get "regular" with or without lead, it’s used as racing fuel.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Lead

"That was a side effect. It was added as an anti-knock agent originally."

Also, fun fact – the man who originally came up with the addition of lead to petrol was also the guy who invented CFCs, and ultimately died due to a device he created to help with a disability he developed later in life. The law of unintended consequences personified.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Midgley_Jr.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That’s the irrational position Mike described. Wanting it dead just because you don’t like it is completely irrational. Imagine your own business getting closed down just because some in the community don’t like you. If we allow Facebook, dumpster fire that they are, to be destroyed just because some large number of people don’t like them or what they do we’re setting a terrible precedent with a dismal future.

Now if FB is breaking laws, not paying their taxes, discriminating in their hiring practices, etc, etc, then yeah, go after them. If you can get them shut down for legal reasons then great, the world is better off. But "neener, neener" is a shit terrible excuse to damage a company, any company.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

As OP clearly described, it’s not purely based on dislike. It’s based on the problems that Facebook has caused (social exclusion) through their user-hostile activities. That seems perfectly rational to me. Yes, we shouldn’t be arbitrarily closing companies just because people don’t like them, but that’s not what the OP said. The article asked: Do people want it better or do people want it dead? OP answered: dead. Reasonable question, reasonable answer. Irrational would be to answer: I want it purple.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Were those practices against the law? Is the FBI, FCC, FTC, Fanything going after you for them based on the breakage of laws?

If not then the market does the speaking and so far Facebook’s market seems to be absolutely in love with the product. That the majority here would prefer FB shriveled up and sank to the bottom of the ocean is more or less immaterial (though satisfying).

Sven Golly says:

The only good Facebook is a DEAD Facebook.

That’s because of corporate attitude which is NOT going to change. Social media as such is okay because simply The Public wanting to Publish for themselves without corporate control as Section 230 actually authorizes, NOT your view that mere "platforms" can suppress and control all 1st Amendment.

If an ISP took the power that YOU claim Section 230 authorizes, then mere networks / hosts can TOTALLY control YOUR access to teh internets! An ISP would be able to throttle / remove YOU for apparent piracy and torrenting! Why do you object to that degree of arbitrary control when an ISP but say it’s okay for GOOGLE / FACEBOOK? Social media is to be not much more than wires: NEUTRAL CARRIER, not goddam censors, PERIOD.

Now, your sentence here has unnecessary commas which are Freudian slip:

But many people, clearly, do not agree.

The commas imply that those who want Facebook dead see clearly, and you go on to confirm that by next two sentences which state that YOU don’t see clearly and don’t understand. Freudian, I tells ya.

Otherwise, this is rather minimal version of your usual trying to gin up some controvery for fanboys, smear opponents as extremists, and shift discussion to new safer topic.

By the way, nearly all problems with Facebook and every other corporation besides The Rich would be greatly reduced by taxing the hell out of them so that they to struggle for profit and focus on SERVING not RULING. It’s the easy, fair, entirely proven by actual practice for 30 years when the country was becoming more fair, mechanical, no-politics way to improve society. As me, Bernie Sander, AOC, Bill Gates a bit, and others advocate. — And everyone here should support it because you aren’t Rich, and never will be while let Born Rich rule like royalty.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: The only good Facebook is a DEAD Facebook.

I don’t have time to point out all the problems with that, but first, I’ll say that the commas don’t do what you think they do. That “clearly” obviously is referring to the conclusion that there exist many people who disagree with Mike on this particular topic. How you see it as implying that those who disagree are “seeing clearly” is beyond me.

You also completely misunderstand Mike’s point on the CDA §230, which specifically allows sites like Facebook and ISPs to regulate or fail to regulate content submitted by end users as they wish without fear of lawsuits (excluding copyright for some reason). Mike hasn’t distinguished them with regards to that particular law. The difference is that there are ways to get your content online or to search the web other than through Facebook or Google, while most people have one, maybe two, broadband companies that can provide internet access to them. Also, Google and Facebook are free for the user, but internet access is not.

I’m not saying Google and Facebook are perfect or shouldn’t be regulated. Far from it. However, it’s also important not to overregulate, and to realize that broadband companies deserve attention, too.

Anonymous Coward says:

I simply want a dead facebook. Everybody knows that facebook is just a platform for selling our privacy data and they’ve grown wealthy of our information. Companies should not be able to profit off our data and it should be a federal offense to sell any users’ data without their expressed permission.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:

People write, post, interact, and create content for big tech without being compensated.

Buy they are compensated. The cost of usage and publishing is set to $0 because the platform they are using defrays the cost of hosting the content by monetizing the metadata plus selling ad-space.

But you are arguing that it’s not enough they host your content without cost – they should even pay you for the privilege.

If you don’t think it’s fair that they host your content for $0, you always have the choice to pay for hosting your own content. But I guess that’s not even on your agenda – because you can’t be arsed to host your own content and want a payday from someone else.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Do People Want A Better Facebook, Or A Dead Facebook?

Funny, but No. Within the constraints of the dichotomy, "a better Facebook" is clearly intended to be an operational one. A dead Facebook is certainly not better for those who find Facebook useful. It is better on privacy, in theory, but so would any company. But there is also no guarantee the next Facebook will actually be better on those issues.

So the question, do people want Facebook to improve while continuing to operate, or just die is not a false dichotomy.

Bruce C. says:

Re: Re: Do People Want A Better Facebook, Or A Dead Facebook?

Well, my point was that a world without Facebook in its current form of a privacy-ignoring data singularity is an improvement over the current situation, even for the people who currently use Facebook despite the fire risk. But you’re right that isn’t a better "Facebook", it’s a better "world". I’m pretty confident that if Facebook goes under or gets broken up because of their disregard for privacy, any successor would be under enough scrutiny that it would be better-behaved in the short to medium term. After that, who knows. There are plenty of other companies besides Facebook that slither back to their past misbehavior patterns after the furor has died down (hello Wells Fargo).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Do People Want A Better Facebook, Or A Dead Facebook

Let’s be realistic for a moment (just a moment, hang on, it won’t hurt that much).

Facebook isn’t going anywhere.

Politics aside, until FB has broken laws that the gov’t can use to take them down they’re just going to keep growing and doing what they’ve always done: Piss all over user privacy and get paid for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

I want old facebook. The one were I liked a page and got the updates I wanted in chronological order. I want my newsfeed to show want I want, and not what it thinks I want. I don’t want to be notfied that some friend of a friend posted to a friends timeline. If a friend or a site I follow makes a post I want to see it. It used to work that way.

I think it is too rotten to save now.

Dank710 (profile) says:

Most of you have only YOURSELF to blame

Just an FYI when you use a free service you can’t expect privacy. How is that so hard to understand? I was around before Facebook exisited and we only had myspace. People my age realized back then giving all of this information on a public site was STUPID if you value your privacy. But most ppl on FB just want attention from strangers so they post lots of personal shit.

Stop posting your personal shit on PUBLIC spaces. You want privacy use a PRIVATE site.

Quit being such children and wanting FB dead.

You brought this on yourselves.

Ending FB will only make things worse.

Some of you are so clueless it hurts

Bruce C. says:

Re: Most of you have only YOURSELF to blame

not exactly…If a service is "free" that just means you’re paying for it in other ways, but the other form of payment doesn’t necessarily have to be in a loss of privacy. A useful, but limited service that serves as a loss-leader for a service that has a monthly fee is one example (think cloud storage). Loss of privacy does seem go hand-in-hand with advertising-based business models, though. Efficient targeting of the ads requires efficient data collection about any potential consumers.

Thad (profile) says:

For years, we kept getting told that the reason big companies like Facebook and Google didn’t treat user privacy very carefully was because there was profit in scooping up all our data, and that there were no profits in privacy. This was seen as a problem. Yet, now that Facebook is exploring ways to provide more privacy and snoop less, some are still complaining that it might profit from it? Shouldn’t we want to see business models that align with protecting user privacy? Shouldn’t we want companies to realize that protecting user privacy both can and should be profitable as well? Won’t that encourage companies to move away from data surveillance business models into ones that are more respectful to end users?

That’s why I highlighted the positive concepts in Zuckerberg’s post. Because I think it’s good to encourage companies to go in the right direction.

That strikes me as a lot like praising Lucy for swearing she’s definitely not going to pull the football away this time.

Actions speak louder than words. Zuckerberg, Sandberg, and the rest of Facebook’s management have given me no reason to believe they are sincere in wanting to protect user privacy.

You can argue that what they’re saying right now about pivoting toward a more privacy-friendly model is praiseworthy, but I think that’s setting the bar pretty damn low. I’ll acknowledge that it’s a step in the right direction — but it’s a very, very small one. I’m more inclined to hold my praise until after they actually make good on their word.

To answer the question of whether I want a better Facebook or a dead Facebook: my vote is "dead" — at least as dead as MySpace or AOL — because I do not believe it is reasonable to expect a better Facebook as long as the current leadership continues to run the company.

If it turns out I’m wrong and they really are sincere this time, great. But I’m not gonna be the one who tries to kick that damn football.

David says:

Re: Re:

Actions speak louder than words. Zuckerberg, Sandberg, and the rest of Facebook’s management have given me no reason to believe they are sincere in wanting to protect user privacy.

I don’t get what the rubbish about "protecting user privacy" is supposed to signify to users. It’s like the fox assuring that guarding the hen house is a high priority for him.

As long as the only commodity Facebook actually sells for money is the privacy of users, they are going to guard their users’ privacy from their competitors only, but certainly not from their customers. Of course they want to keep selling the privacy, so they’ll make sure that even their customers’ access to user privacy is metered.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If they only shared/sold data the users themselves gave them that would be one thing. But FB is expert at following the breadcrumbs and collating data you have no idea you were leaving out there to be collected. They buy databases from 3rd parties and use them to further collate their data. They’ve ended up with far, far more information about everyone, even non-users, than anyone would have willingly given them. And that’s what they sell.

That is the problem (imo).

bobob says:

I guess the question of better versus dead comes down to what the point of facebook is. While many people see it as a way of connecting with other people who are not geographically close, I’d argue that it provides a means of disconnecting from people who are immediately around you in favor of mindless chit chat. There are plenty of other ways to connect with people with real shared interests. I can’t imagine why I’d want to use facebook but, if other people want to use facebook, that’s what they should do.

Better, dead or worse makes little difference to me so long as they are legally restrained to be kept out of the lives and data of people who choose to not be on facebook.

Anonymous Coward says:

The framework for Facebook is fine with exception to control over data. Advertisers, Corporations, Law Enforcement, and Political Campaigns have misused the data. It’s too tempting for concentrated power to restrain themselves.

Put control over data into the hands of the individual that data belongs to.

I believe this view is aligned with Western legal/philosophical views on human rights. Aligns with amendments encoded in the American constitution.

This may not always be practical from a legislative standpoint. I think we can do it from a technical standpoint.

Promote culture of returning to do-it-yourself hobbyist behavior of early internet. Cut the cloud. Drop file storage in the garage. We’ve got great NAS offerings out there making life easy to set up and bring online with some basic apps easy to access and set-up.

Add social network as an app on the device with ability to share access with friends and family. Simple photo sharing and and timeline, potential add-ons functionality. None of the facial recognition and ML layers tacked on. Ability to create decentralized groups to subscribe to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Would be easy to migrate family to such a framework. With friends what I find is they generally want convenience of sharing information without the centralized company tracking it. Control over who sees what that conflicts with the for-profit models out there. Take the profit out of it and have a little less streamlined product.

TFG says:

I have removed myself from Facebook as much as possible. I went through the process of deleting my profile entirely from their system, and I’ve set up browser extensions to block their trackers. I can’t do anything about the shadow profile thing, but I can keep them out of my business, and keep them from delivering anything to me.

The only reason I still had a Facebook was to connect with my parents, who were until recently across an ocean from me. My parents still use it to connect with certain people. In its core functionality, on which everything else is bolted, Facebook still serves a purpose of connecting people to each other.

As much as I dislike it, I don’t advocate for removing the ease of connection that Facebook provides people. I understand why the average person uses it, and why they would want to use it. It’s a lot easier to find an old connection on Facebook than it is outside of Facebook, and those interactions are, for many, desirable. I personally don’t care for them, but that’s me.

Since it provides an actual service that is desirable to a significant number of people, I don’t advocate for Death at All Costs. It has serious problems that need fixing, but there’s no simple answer. Kill Facebook, and you have a massive gap in the market that will be filled one way or another – and everybody who used Facebook will be forced to make all those connections again.

I’d prefer a better Facebook. I don’t know how that can be done, but that’s what I’d prefer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Dead here please.

My reasoning isn’t "[ughhhh] company bad" as you snidely say.

If you don’t know why people hate it, and don’t believe it is redeemable, then it’s because you don’t want to know.

I understand why it is useful and valuable. But the price of that utility is way too high. I am not willing to keep waiting for a “fix” that no one involved has an incentive to introduce.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

On legal grounds that may need creating after thorough analysis of which parts of Facebook’s activity are the inherently problematic ones. There is no point in shutting down Facebook if you can just create something equally bad.

Not every future development of society is anticipated in preexisting laws. Sometimes you have to try capturing the essence of bad new developments well enough that you can create a playing field not accommodating them.

Anonymous Coward says:

And most people can agree that Facebook has a history of fairly egregious behavior at times, but slamming the company for finally doing something positive, doesn’t seem particularly productive

They haven’t done anything positive, though. They simply put out a bullshit press release to give people like yourself an excuse to make the claim that they’ve done something positive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well hello, fallacy of relative privation.

Meh, not really. We’re talking about policy priorities, rethinking antitrust/privacy law, etc. – and most people justify their strong "kill Facebook" attitude by emphasizing the damage they see it as doing to the world. A lot of tossing out broad notions in that regard too – "it’s like a public utility", "it’s simply too big", "it has too much influence over politics". I think any solution that just satiates people’s Facebook bloodlust and nothing else is going to be a band-aid at best, and a distraction from more despicable actors at worst.

Zgaidin (profile) says:

Re: Then there's the other problem with FB...

But that’s not a Facebook problem. That’s an internet problem. One of the great utilities of the internet is how easy it makes it to find other people with similar interests or views, whether that’s political views or your shared interest in a specific cult-classic movie, or whatever. All Facebook did was extend that to your offline life. They found a way to compile data and suggest that you might know and want to reconnect/keep in touch with certain people, and with often scary accuracy.

If FB dies or is killed, that won’t kill MAGA idiocy, or the preponderance of idiots in general. They’ve always been here, and the internet makes it easy for them to find one another and organize. The genie is out of that bottle. FB may monetize their idiocy, but if it was gone tomorrow, they’d just move to Reddit or YouTube or whatever moves in to replace the vacuum left behind by FB.

Alphonse Tomato says:

I dunno. Facebook seems like it would be useful if it was trustworthy. But the present operation and history is the very opposite of that. Does a leopard change its spots?

I’d be all in favor, IF they were required to have a signed (on paper, in ink) permission (not a four-word line embedded in 19 pages of clickthrough lawyerese) in order to track me. Or even mandatory corporate dissolution upon evidence of any abuse of trust. Otherwise, I’d be happy to pee on their grave.

UniKyrn (profile) says:

I have never used Facebook because I never trusted it and I see no reason to do so no matter how many changes they make. The basic mindset and business model is still there, "Add more people, sell the data we collect about them."

They finally got so blatant about it that people rebelled, so they are making a few cosmetic changes, but who trusts that a year from now they aren’t right back selling our data, they’ve just gotten more sneaky about it?

We are the product being sold, pick a company, it doesn’t have to be Facebook. Until it’s impossible to make us the product, I don’t see this mess getting better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They are not separate issues. Part of the problem with Facebook, and the rest of the data harvesters, is that in addition to potentially selling personal data to private actors, governments can also get hold of it. Private companies at least have some limitations via shareholders and consumer trust etc. Government are more problematic. If governments want a list of homosexuals or Jews or dissidents in their population it is likely that there is no better source to infer this from than the data collected by their friends in Big Tech. Maybe they will stop with looking for “terrorists”. Maybe China is just an anomaly. Maybe it cannot happen here… for some reason.

CyberKender says:

Do I want a better Facebook?

Yes.

Do I believe "Yet, now that Facebook is exploring ways to provide more privacy and snoop less, some are still complaining that it might profit from it?"

Hell no.
Any Capitalist company will only self-regulate in as much as it continues to profit itself. These companies will only consider user privacy the primary issue when forced to from an outside agency. Otherwise, I will only expect such statements to carry about the same weight as when the NSA claimed they only spy on targeted, foreign communications…

Devonavar says:

Wrong framing

I don’t care whether Facebook is better or dead. I care about decentralizing the internet. A centralized database that contains every person in the world is too great a security risk to exist. The benefits (which exist and are substantial) do not outweigh the costs.

I’m asserting that, but I think it roughly captures the conclusion that a lot of us have come to. Certainly, it’s in tune with Mike’s "protocols not platforms" solution.

I don’t see any way of dealing with the problem except legislation and regulation. The technology to build a centralized database exists, as does the business rationale. The only way I can think of to get rid of that degree of centralization is to make it illegal.

The corollary is that this will almost certainly kill Facebook and likely also Google. Do I want them dead? Not particularly. But I do want their business models heavily regulated and partially outlawed. And I don’t care if this kills them in the process. If they adapt, great, they’ll be "better". If they don’t, death is an acceptable cost of decentralization.

And, once we’ve dealt with centralization, we also need to regulate advertising as a business model…

Anonymous Coward says:

A dead Facebook would be fine with me. First off, the EFF have pointed out that Facebook’s new "privacy" plan may not be all it’s cooked up to be. I simply don’t trust them anymore. The last straw for any rational person should’ve been Facebook’s "Friendly Fraud".

There’s also the fact that Facebook moderators are severely underpaid for all the psychological scarring that it gives them and they start believing in the ludicrous conspiracy theories that they have to look at. If a company has to have workers undergo psychological trauma just to catch and delete some of the nasty content that gets spread on it (since complete content moderation at scale is impossible) in order to maintain a profitable and viable platform, then the validity of that company’s business model should be seriously questioned. And if the company can’t survive without that business model? Then yeah, it’s better off dead.

cattress (profile) says:

Please target my ads

I must be crazy because I prefer ads for things I’m interested in or shopping for as opposed to weight loss and penis enhancement drugs; and I certainly prefer ad based access over user fees. I can’t figure out what private data from Facebook am I supposed to be so upset about being profited from or mishandled. Advertise all they want, what are the corporations going to weave subliminal messages into my news feed that make me want to buy a specific crib because I announced my pregnancy? So what. I’m still going to shop around for months until I find the one I like the most, meets my needs and fits my budget. Frankly, I’m far more bothered by 3 credit bureaus that I can’t opt out of or select which can collect my information having zero liability in failing to protect my legal identity information that could lead to financial ruin. If you don’t like Facebook, don’t use it, you have free choice either way.
Now I do agree with another person who said they like the old Facebook, where my feed was more chronological and less trying to predict what I want to see. And I respect that other people feel the opposite as me regarding their data, but I would like to better understand why.

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