Facebook Still Can't Admit That Launching Libra During An International Privacy Scandal Is Idiotic

from the well-duh dept

One of the less charming aspects of Facebook is its executives' total inability to read the room. For example, any sensible company under Facebook's recent level of scrutiny would take the contrite and humble approach -- pausing most operations to insist they'd seen the error of their ways, pummeling home the claim that they were pausing expansion ambitions to ensure they were leaving no stone unturned to fix the problem and company culture (even if the company in question never genuinely intended such a thing).

Instead Facebook, one of the wealthiest companies to ever exist, engaged in repeated PR gaffes and face plants, most of which were their own making. Like thinking it was a good idea to launch a dating app in the middle of a privacy firestorm. Or thinking it was a good idea to push a "privacy protecting" VPN on users that wound up being spyware. Or, you know, thinking it was a good idea for it to push hard into the cryptocurrency space while facing numerous international investigations for being a dumpster fire when it comes to protecting its users' privacy and security.

To that end, a paywalled report at The Information this week hinted that Facebook was finally backing away from its Libra cryptocurrency plan after numerous partners had wisely exited the (likely) doomed venture. Last year Facebook had already been slowly backing away from its original vision of Libra as a fully open, decentralized network, putting it in stark contrast with those excited about the decentralized nature of blockchain-based networks.

But the company and the Libra Association (or what's left of it) subsequently told Ars Technica that nothing has changed:

"The Libra Association has not altered its goal of building a regulatory-compliant global payment network, and the basic design principles that support that goal have not been changed nor has the potential for this network to foster future innovation."

Government regulators around the world balked at the dumb idea from the start. Stripe, Paypal, eBay, Visa, Mastercard, and Mercado Pago all quickly sensed the project was a dumpster fire and quickly backed away. Most of the companies that actually know something about international payment systems want nothing to do with this project. But this being Facebook, it apparently knows better, and will probably keep beating this dead horse for another year or so before it admits the project is a turd, in large part because nobody trusts the company to get it right after Cambridge Analytica.

Filed Under: cryptocurrency, currency, libra, money, regulations, regulators
Companies: facebook


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  1. icon
    sumgai (profile), 9 Mar 2020 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Weak story. . .

    I'm not too sure I'd be so quick to label this story as 'weak'. The questions you raise are good, and have been answered both here on TD and elsewhere. But the bottom line for most folks, whether they be FB users or FB haters, is that the Cambridge Analytica debacle proved that FB has no moral scruples whatsoever. And I mean, proved beyond any possible doubt.

    The inescapable problem for FB is that they have a history of taking advantage of people's personal data. Stating things like "we will never mistreat your data" has less than no meaning to them. All that this Libra venture meant to them was yet another avenue to access private, personal data, and deeply financial data at that. Even if they simply worked to arbitrage the money flow (shady at best, but done every day by the big boys...), they'd still be untrustworthy to the maximum degree possible.

    Submitting to any degree of government oversight would expose this kind of behavior, and would tend to reduce profits from triple or quadruple digits down to double digits.... and Mark can't have that, now can he?


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