• Revision ID 66299 PUBLISHED
  • 2018-04-17 20:54:17
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  • Note: added transcripts
 
   
Title Title
Facebook's journey through our privacy: did we ever care? Facebook may promise privacy but business model is built on its absence
Summary Summary
Privacy is incompatible with Facebook's business model. So why is everyone shocked? Cambridge Analytica scandal was a result of Facebook's 'DNA', not a bug: personal data has made it a fortune and it is insatiable
Highlights Highlights
  Almost every Facebook user scraped by 'malicious actors' , 'Facebook makes money...by selling our attention to advertisers' , The true customers are advertisers and politicians , 'You have zero privacy...get over it'
Content Content
<b>“They ‘trust me.’ Dumb fucks.” Those two sentences will forever haunt Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook billionaire <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/09/20/the-face-of-facebook" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/09/20/the-face-of-facebook&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522911264089000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEfE_mOjV1VYrk9KIXxA4qlUIFk_Q">made the statement at age 19</a>, when his social network was in its fast-growing infancy. But since the Cambridge Analytica scandal over the misuse of 50 million Facebook profiles, the quote has been cited as "proof" that Facebook was never really on its users' side. </b> <strong>Facebook users who Mark Zuckerberg once referred to as "dumb fucks" in early 2004 are now facing up to the reality behind that insult. With admissions from the company that almost all its 2 billion users probably had their data harvested by "<a href="https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/04/restricting-data-access/">malicious actors</a>," and that 87 million – not 50 million – profiles were probably used by Cambridge Analytica, the business model powering Facebook is <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/22/technology/q-a-facebook-cambridge-analytica-and-the-ethics-of-big-data/56352/">being laid bare</a>.</strong>
The quote has been part of an often hysterical global conversation about the power of Facebook, namely  its  attitude to privacy and use of personal data.  
Privacy, as George Bernard Shaw decided in XXX, [<em>AL will fix has refs]</em>  is something "unknown in America". In Europe, privacy has always been more popular with laws in France and xxxx to protect it. But then came the internet, and, especially social media. It's been nearly 20 years since Sun Microsystems then-CEO Scott McNealy <a href="https://www.wired.com/1999/01/sun-on-privacy-get-over-it/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.wired.com/1999/01/sun-on-privacy-get-over-it/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522911264089000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFA9Sdu-9PdAE3rIuKW0dHUtMSvLw">told <em>Wired:</em></a> "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." Zuckerberg echoed the sentiment in 2010, predicting that as social media grows, privacy will no longer be a “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/jan/11/facebook-privacy" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/jan/11/facebook-privacy&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522911264089000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHdDREmFKHKigBoSZ541aOegD0mJg">social norm.</a>”  
  Cambridge Analytica <a href="https://ca-commercial.com/news/ca-responds-announcement-gsr-dataset-potentially-contained-87-million-records">denied</a> it used any more than 30 million profiles, saying they were gained under an agreement with a Cambridge University academic. However, Facebook's latest disclosures suggest nearly three times that number. Perhaps more significantly, the social network acknowledged that virtually every users' data may have been open to being gathered.
  Facebook said in a <a href="https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/04/restricting-data-access/">blog post</a> that "malicious actors" took advantage of its platform, admitting that "most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped." Facebook didn't disclose who the malicious actors are or how the data might've been used, but said it's working to close the gaps in its policy and security.
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">That a company valued at nearly $500 billion could not afford – or rather did not try – to implement stronger privacy from the start is telling to the critics who described the essence of the free-services-for-personal-data model as: <a href="https://longform.org/posts/you-are-the-product">"You are the product"</a> <em>(Longform)</em>.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;"> Facebook is scrambling to save its reputation by saying it will close loopholes and push out new privacy measures. But with this action</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the company risks allowing its critics to infer that privacy wasn't its main concern all along. Rather, its interests had always been the commercial exploitation of the "dumb fucks," not its motto of "<a href="https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/bringing-the-world-closer-together/10154944663901634/">bringing the world closer together</a>."</span>
  Zuckerberg has <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43643729">agreed to appear</a> before the United States Senate judiciary and commerce committees and the House energy and commerce committee, and will send top lieutenants to <a href="https://in.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-privacy-australia/australia-begins-privacy-investigation-into-facebook-idINKCN1HC0BF">other inquiries worldwide</a>. Since the scandal, Facebook says it will increase its privacy restrictions with <a href="https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/04/terms-and-data-policy/">new, more transparent policies</a>. These include making it easier for users to see the data Facebook has on them, and no longer providing information from data brokers to advertisers – though of course it will continue to sell directly to advertisers.
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  <h2>'They trust me...'</h2>
  “They ‘trust me.’ Dumb fucks." Those two sentences forever haunt Mark Zuckerberg. The billionaire <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/09/20/the-face-of-facebook">made the statement at age 19,</a> when his social network was in its fast-growing infancy. Now, of course, it's a money-machine with <a href="https://investor.fb.com/investor-news/press-release-details/2018/Facebook-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-2017-Results/default.aspx">a revenue over $40 billion in 2017</a>, a 47 percent increase on the previous year.
  That revenue is based on access to more than 2 billion users, many of whom, judging by reaction to the recent scandal, are becoming ever-more aware of Facebook's motives behind the use of their data.
  It's been nearly 20 years since Sun Microsystems then-CEO Scott McNealy <a href="https://www.wired.com/1999/01/sun-on-privacy-get-over-it/">told</a> <a href="https://www.wired.com/1999/01/sun-on-privacy-get-over-it/"><em>Wired</em>:</a> "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." Zuckerberg echoed the sentiment in 2010, predicting that as social media grows, privacy will no longer be a “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/jan/11/facebook-privacy">social norm.</a>”
  <blockquote><span style="font-weight: 400;">'The problem is the hijacking of the human mind' - former Google ethicist</span></blockquote>
The question now is whether Facebook by accident or design decided that privacy was not important, so did little to protect the data of its users.That the Cambridge Analytica scandal wasn't technically a data leak is beside the point. For many, the real problem is a laissez-faire approach to user privacy that happens to be central to Facebook's business model.  <span style="font-weight: 400;">That the Cambridge Analytica scandal wasn't technically a data leak because it was based on legal agreements is beside the point. For many of its critics, the real problem is a laissez-faire approach to user privacy that happens to be central to Facebook's business model.</span>
“Privacy has always been a relative issue for the companies that dominate the consumer internet economy," wrote Richard Waters in the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/15719b92-2db1-11e8-a34a-7e7563b0b0f4" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.ft.com/content/15719b92-2db1-11e8-a34a-7e7563b0b0f4&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522911264089000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHyLoun1VikPw0F5CwRm2Izrc6BwQ"><i>Financial Times</i></a>. "It is not about aspiring to some absolute standard for protecting user data: instead, what matters are the generally accepted standards of the time.”  <span style="font-weight: 400;">“Privacy has always been a relative issue for the companies that dominate the consumer internet economy," <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/15719b92-2db1-11e8-a34a-7e7563b0b0f4">wrote</a> Richard Waters in the </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Financial Times</span></i> (<em>may be behind paywall</em>)<span style="font-weight: 400;">. "It is not about aspiring to some absolute standard for protecting user data: instead, what matters are the generally accepted standards of the time.”</span>
But privacy itself is a "contested concept,” says Jorg Pohle, a researcher at the Berlin-based Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.  
"There are many competing understandings and interpretations of privacy, and related concepts like surveillance or data protection," Pohle told <em>WikiTribune</em>.  "Nothing in Facebook's policy documents indicates that Facebook understands your privacy as something that needs to be protected against Facebook itself."  
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Jörg Pohle, a researcher at the Berlin-based</span><a href="https://www.hiig.de/en/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society</span></a>, told <em>WikiTribune</em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that Facebook has never shown it cared about privacy. "There are many competing understandings and interpretations of privacy, and related concepts like surveillance or data protection...</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">"Nothing in Facebook's policy documents indicates that Facebook understands your privacy as something that needs to be protected against Facebook itself."</span>
  Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, this week acknowledged that the company may have got the “balance” between openness and privacy wrong. "I think we were very idealistic and not rigorous enough,” <a href="https://www.today.com/news/sheryl-sandberg-today-other-facebook-data-breaches-possible-t126579">she told the Today show</a>.
<h2><b>Facebook just being Facebook</b></h2>  <h2><b>Facebook's just being Facebook</b></h2>
Industry analysts say Facebook's very structure virtually ensured that a misuse of data was inevitable. The site has few serious privacy shields. Cambridge Analytica was a result of Facebook's DNA, not a bug or unforeseen flaw in the system.  
For someone like Andy Chen, CEO of ProtonMail, the free, encrypted email service used by Cambridge Analytica CEO Andrew Nix, Facebook's centralization of data has always been the problem.  
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Industry analysts say Facebook's very structure has virtually ensured that the platform was rife for exploitation, and that data misuse was inevitable. Historically, the site has limited privacy shields for personal data across the network. Perhaps, then, the</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> scandal over Cambridge Analytica is better seen as a result of Facebook's DNA, not a bug or unforeseen flaw in the system</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">For someone like Andy Yen, <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/31/internet/interview-encryption-is-becoming-more-democratic-says-ceo-of-protonmail/58727/">CEO of ProtonMail</a>, the free, encrypted and self-destructing email service famously used by Cambridge Analytica CEO Andrew Nix, Facebook's centralization of personal data has always been the problem.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">"People talk about regulation, control, security, but I don’t think it matters whether the data was sold, hacked or breached." Yen told </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">WikiTribune</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">. "That’s not the key point. The fact that this data exists causes a clear, present danger."</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">It's not that Facebook lacks the means to build privacy safeguards into its system – it's simply not in its financial interest to do so, he said. "It’s not a technical limitation of the internet," said Yen. "It's entirely a business limitation."</span>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;">The social network dominates the advertising technology space called "ad-tech." Ad-tech is an umbrella term for software tools that help companies target, deliver, and analyze their advertising efforts.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook invests heavily in ad-tech because it makes its money by monetizing users' data for advertising. Lots of money. The Facebook News Feed – most people's primary gateway into the platform, for example, accounts for more than $30 billion of the site's annual advertising revenue,</span><a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/40490938/what-does-facebook-messenger-mean-for-the-future-of-political-propaganda"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">according</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fast Company. </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Overall, its ad revenue is <a href="https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/facebook-ad-revenue-49-despite-user-number-fall/1456005">more than $40 billion</a>. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">"Facebook makes money ... by profiling us and then selling our attention to advertisers, political actors, and others," wrote techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufecki in the </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/opinion/facebook-cambridge-analytica.html"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York Times</span></i></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. "These are Facebook’s true customers, whom it works hard to please."</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;"><a href="https://twitter.com/tristanharris?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Tristan Harris</a>, a former design ethicist at Google, said that subtle techniques, such as the Facebook "Like" button, are designed to keep people on the site, so that profitable attention does not slip away.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">"</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The problem is the hijacking of the human mind: systems that are better and better at steering what people are paying attention to," <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/our-minds-have-been-hijacked-by-our-phones-tristan-harris-wants-to-rescue-them/">he told<em> Wired</em></a></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span>
  <h2><b>Did Facebook ever care about our privacy?</b></h2>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">“People don't care about privacy until they do,” </span><a href="https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/brent-mittelstadt/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brent Mittelstadt</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, told </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">WikiTribune</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook users are no different. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Over the years, Facebook’s porous and heavily commercial approach to privacy has </span><a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/timeline-facebook-s-privacy-issues-its-responses-n859651"><span style="font-weight: 400;">resulted in numerous </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">mea culpas</span></i></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (see list below). In 2007, Zuckerberg issued a public apology over a Facebook program called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook_Beacon">Beacon</a>, which allowed companies to track users' purchases without their permission. In 2011, the company <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2011/11/facebook-settles-ftc-charges-it-deceived-consumers-failing-keep">came to an agreement</a> with the Federal Trade Commission over its alleged misbehavior in creating a false impression of privacy, including accepting regular privacy audits. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">These were only few of the milestones along the way in the recurring issue of Facebook's handling of privacy. They were warnings, but generally the rumpus would die down as millions of people continued to "Like" and "Share." Privacy</span><a href="https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-timeline"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">settings were there</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> – if not obvious or easy, as Matt McKeon of the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported in 2010. But, much like the Terms and Conditions</span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/03/terms-of-service-online-contracts-fine-print"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">the masses famously ignore (</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Guardian)</span></i></a>, <span style="font-weight: 400;">privacy settings were a chore that many just ignored.</span>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrew Keen, author of</span> <i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Internet is Not the Answer</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">,</span><a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/04/05/internet/provocative-prescient-andrew-keen-predicted-the-crisis-over-privacy/59383/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">told</span> <i><span style="font-weight: 400;">WikiTribune</span></i></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">that Facebook’s convenience and free service is why </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">"people don’t want it to have bad repercussions, they’d rather not think about it.”</span>
"People talk about regulation, control, security, but I don't think … it matters whether the data was sold … hacked or breached," Chen told <em>WikiTribune</em>. "That's not the key point ... the fact that this data exists [is] a pretty clear, present danger." <span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s free, so why wouldn’t you want to believe in all the nonsense that Zuckerberg tells everyone?" Keen said. "But then when it becomes clear that they are actually mining our data, people have to make hard choices."</span>
It's not that Facebook lacks the means to build privacy safeguards into its system – it's simply not in its financial interest to do so.  
  <h2><b>To delete or not to delete</b></h2>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">The #DeleteFacebook movement flared up briefly after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It gained steam when Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Whatsapp co-founder, Brian Acton, joined the global chorus of critics. The </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><a href="https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/25/the-regulation-moat/">lack of a viable alternative</a> <em>(TechCrunch)</em>,</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> however, means these movements are unlikely to have significant impact.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">“The 'delete Facebook' thing is one solution for a certain type of user,” said </span><a href="https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/brent-mittelstadt/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mittelstadt</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> at the Oxford Internet Institute. “For people concerned about their privacy, it can be step in the right direction. But this is also ignoring the fact that, in a lot of countries, Facebook is essentially the internet. So it’s not helpful in that context.”</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook's monopoly allows it to gather users' data even if they're not on Facebook. It's the reason why it acquires other platforms such as Instagram, with 800 million monthly users, and WhatsApp, with 1.5 billion monthly users. Facebook itself hit more than 2 billion monthly users in 2017.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Knowing this, internet browser developer Mozilla announced in March an add-on called </span><a href="https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2018/03/27/facebook-container-add-on/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook Container</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that hides the identity of Facebook users from the rest of the Web.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">“The difference is that it will be much harder for Facebook to use your activity collected off Facebook to send you ads and other targeted messages,” according to Mozilla. The add-on is an option for those who don’t want to delete Facebook but want to protect their privacy.</span>
  <h2>Security will not change business model</h2>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">As the world becomes more digitized, more data-driven, privacy will be harder to maintain and cyberattacks more of a pressing risk. New regulations, such as Europe’s </span><a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/21/technology/the-general-data-protection-regulation-explained/50774/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">General Data Protection Regulation</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (GDPR) and Germany’s</span><a href="https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">NetzDG</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, will set new rules for how Facebook can operate in Europe. Zuckerberg said he expects to use the European GDPR system as a guideline for the type of privacy protection the company should offer throughout the world.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">But for ProtonMail's Yen, the internet's entire business model needs to be revised, as well as the perspective of users.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">"The whole business model of mining data, to serve ads to make money, that is fundamentally a flawed model," he said. "You cannot really add security or add safeguards to fix business models."</span>
"It's not technical limitation, it's not really an architecture limitation," says Chen. "It's entirely a business limitation." [contribute-c2a text="Discuss what matters to you" buttons="talk"]
<h2>Did Facebook ever care about our privacy?</h2>   
Facebook’s lax approach to privacy has <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/timeline-facebook-s-privacy-issues-its-responses-n859651" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/timeline-facebook-s-privacy-issues-its-responses-n859651&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522911264089000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHo0sUlFYKeF-Orxixt1g3Vs7yySA">resulted in numerous <i>mea culpas </i></a>over the years. In 2007, Zuckerberg issued a public apology over a Facebook program called Beacon, which allowed companies to track users' purchases without their permission. In 2011 the company came to an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission etc, and in 2014 there was a furore after it emerged that the social network had allowed psychologists to test whether bad news stories put their readers in a depressed mood.   
These were only few of the milestones along the way in the recurring issue of Facebook's handling of privacy. They were warnings, but generally the rumpus would die down as millions of people continued to Like and share. Privacy settings were there - if not obvious or easy. But, much like the Terms and Conditions which the masses famously ignore, privacy settings were a chore that many just ignored.  
Even now, after a new batch of changes described as making privacy easier for users, there is no obvious Privacy button on a Facebook page. When Settings are located, a question such as "Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?" sidesteps the obvious inference: Facebook's search engines are linked to your profile already, and this appears to be a necessity for the site to work.  
<h2>The business angle</h2>   
Facebook dominates the advertising technology space called "ad-tech." Ad-tech is an umbrella term for software tools that help companies target, deliver, and analyze their advertising efforts.   
Facebook invests heavily in ad-tech because it makes its money by monetizing users data for advertising. Lots of money. News Feed, for example, accounts for more than $30 billion of the site's annual advertising revenue, <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/40490938/what-does-facebook-messenger-mean-for-the-future-of-political-propaganda">according to </a><em>Fast Company.  And all their revenue is ..... AL</em>  
"Facebook makes money ... by profiling us and then selling our attention to advertisers, political actors, and others," wrote techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufecki in the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/opinion/facebook-cambridge-analytica.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/opinion/facebook-cambridge-analytica.html&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522911264089000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFRxGSkoC87aW7BXRfgOZ9xs79I1Q"><em>New York Times</em></a>. "These are Facebook’s true customers, whom it works hard to please."   
Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, said that subtle techniques such as the Facebook 'Like' button is designed to keep people on the site, so that profitable attention does not slip away.  
"The problem is the hijacking of the human mind: systems that are better and better at steering what people are paying attention to."  
<h2><b>Too big to contain?</b></h2>  
The #DeleteFacebook movement flared up briefly after the Cambridge Analytica scandal gained steam when Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Whatsapp co-founder, Brian Acton, joined the global chorus of critics. The <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/25/the-regulation-moat/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/25/the-regulation-moat/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522911264089000&amp;usg=AFQjCNG9ep8t_evmYEpsxzDEMLTebIOdUQ">lack of a viable alternative</a> however, means these movements are unlikely to have significant impact.   
“The 'delete Facebook' thing is one solution for a certain type of user,” <a href="https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/brent-mittelstadt/" target="_blank" rel="external noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/brent-mittelstadt/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522911264089000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHmD_KAq8L4gvv6BxIbNJG4rqrINg">Brent Mittelstadt</a>, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, told <em>WikiTribune</em>. “For people concerned about their privacy, it can be step in the right direction. But this is also ignoring the fact that, in a lot of countries, Facebook is essentially the internet. So it’s not helpful in that context.”   
Facebook's monopoly allows it to gather users data even if they're not on Facebook. It's the reason why it acquires other platforms such as Instagram, with 800 million monthly users, and WhatsApp, with 1.5 billion monthly users, to maintain its monopoly. Facebook itself hit more than 2 billion monthly users in 2017.   
Knowing this, internet browser company Mozilla announced in March an add-on called <a href="https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2018/03/27/facebook-container-add-on/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2018/03/27/facebook-container-add-on/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522911264090000&amp;usg=AFQjCNF81iqcYGpivMtexS-L_U7p9vOXng">Facebook Container</a> that hides the identity of Facebook users from the rest of the Web.   
“The difference is that it will be much harder for Facebook to use your activity collected off Facebook to send you ads and other targeted messages,” according to Mozilla. The add-on is an option for those who don’t want to delete Facebook but want to protect their privacy.   
<h2>Privacy in the panopticon age</h2>  
As the world becomes more digitized, more data-driven, privacy will be harder to maintain. New regulations, such as Europe’s <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/21/technology/the-general-data-protection-regulation-explained/50774/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/21/technology/the-general-data-protection-regulation-explained/50774/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1522911264089000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFMxqI4u8YwRQpxIwnonX1qfViLpg">General Data Protection Regulation</a> (GDPR) and Germany’s NetzDG, will set new rules for how Facebook can operate in Europe; but for Chen, the internet's entire business model needs to be revised, as well as the perspective of users.  
"The whole business model of mining data, to serve ads to make money, that is fundamentally a flawed model," he says. "You cannot really add security or add safeguards to fix business models."   
In the end, the roiling debate over online privacy may not strictly be about keeping information secure. It might simply be about who gets to control the information. Despite technically being an open, social platform, Facebook's centralization of information, argues Chen, "is a huge risk to not only privacy but also to democracy, on a whole."  
Tim Berners Lee, inventor of the web, <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/12/internet/inventor-of-the-world-wide-webs-opinion-29-years-on/54657/">said his intention</a> for it was the distribution of information which can be universally accessed. But it's perhaps the prescient words of <a href="https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/William_Gibson">sci-fi writer William Gibson</a> that better reflects today: "The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed."  
The looming problem may be bigger than elections getting influenced, it's that most of the world's information is concentrated in the hands of one-half of a duopoly. A more open and connected world does not necessarily lead to a more better world.  
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">The rolling debate over online privacy is becoming more about who gets to control the information </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">than strictly keeping information secure. Despite technically being an open, social platform, Facebook's centralization of information, Yen explained, "</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">is a huge risk to not only privacy but also to democracy as a whole."</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Tim Berners Lee, inventor of the Web,</span><a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/12/internet/inventor-of-the-world-wide-webs-opinion-29-years-on/54657/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">said his intention</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">for it was the distribution of information that can be universally accessed. But it's perhaps the prescient words of</span><a href="https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/William_Gibson"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">sci-fi writer William Gibson</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">that better reflects today: "The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed."</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">The looming problem is that most of the world's information is concentrated in the hands of</span><a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-race-is-on-to-challenge-google-facebook-duopoly-in-digital-advertising-1497864602"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">one-half of a duopoly</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">WSJ</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">). Such concentration of information in a system with weak privacy designs make it easier for "malicious actors" to exploit information technology for propaganda and psychological operations. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">If Facebook continues this way, those “</span><a href="https://www.wired.com/story/inside-facebook-mark-zuckerberg-2-years-of-hell/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">hellish two years</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">” </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wired</span></i> described in February <span style="font-weight: 400;">are far from over.</span>
<hr /> <hr />
<h2>Timeline of Facebook's privacy developments</h2>  <h2><b>Timeline of Facebook's privacy developments</b></h2>
<ul> <ul>
<li>2004 – Facebook launches as The Facebook, a Harvard University social network. Mark Zuckerberg makes his infamous "dumb fucks" comment, referring to its early users' naiveté in trusting him.</li>   <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2004 – Facebook launches as The Facebook, a Harvard University social network. Mark Zuckerberg makes his infamous "dumb fucks" comment, referring to its early users' naiveté in trusting him.</span></li>
<li>2006 – Harvard researchers working on a psychology project <a href="https://www.chronicle.com/article/Harvards-Privacy-Meltdown/128166">use information from profiles of users</a> without asking their permission (<em>Chronicle of Higher Education</em>)</li>  
<li>2011 – Facebook opens user information and activity to app developers</li>  
<li>2011 – Facebook comes to <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2011/11/facebook-settles-ftc-charges-it-deceived-consumers-failing-keep">agreement with U.S. Federal Trade Commission</a> over its misbehavior in creating a false impression of privacy, including accepting regular privacy audits.</li>  
<li>2014 – Psychological experiment measures subjects' <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/29/facebook-users-emotions-news-feeds">moods after being shown negative news</a> stories [expand]</li>  
<li>2018 – In January, Facebook announces new "<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-sandberg-privacy/facebook-to-hand-privacy-controls-to-users-ahead-of-eu-law-idUSKBN1FC1Q6">privacy center,</a>" which it says will make protecting privacy easier by putting all privacy settings in one place</li>  
<li>2018 – Cambridge Analytica scandal breaks in March. Facebook introduces new privacy measures and tools already in development to comply with Europe's forthcoming <span style="font-weight: 400;">GDPR</span> regulation plan.</li>  
   <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2006 – Harvard researchers working on a psychology project</span><a href="https://www.chronicle.com/article/Harvards-Privacy-Meltdown/128166"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">use information from profiles of users</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">without asking their permission (</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chronicle of Higher Education</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">).</span></li>
   <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2011 – Facebook opens user information and activity to app developers.</span></li>
   <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2011 – Facebook comes to</span><a href="https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2011/11/facebook-settles-ftc-charges-it-deceived-consumers-failing-keep"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">agreement with U.S. Federal Trade Commission</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">over its misbehavior in creating a false impression of privacy, including accepting regular privacy audits.</span></li>
   <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2014 – Psychological experiment measures subjects' </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/29/facebook-users-emotions-news-feeds"><span style="font-weight: 400;">moods after being shown negative news</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">stories, sparking outrage from those who felt they were manipulated. Facebook announced new guidelines on how to approach such experiments in the future. </span></li>
   <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2018 – In January, Facebook announces new "</span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-sandberg-privacy/facebook-to-hand-privacy-controls-to-users-ahead-of-eu-law-idUSKBN1FC1Q6"><span style="font-weight: 400;">privacy center,</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">" which it says will make protecting privacy easier by putting all privacy settings in one place.</span></li>
   <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2018 – Cambridge Analytica</span><a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/22/internet/political-data-firm-cambridge-analytica-suspended-by-facebook-after-expose/56110/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">scandal breaks</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in March. Facebook introduces new privacy measures and tools already in development to comply with Europe's forthcoming </span><a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/21/technology/european-union-forces-the-pace-on-protection-of-individual-data-on-the-internet/52069/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">General Data Protection Regulation.</span></a></li>
</ul> </ul>
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Brexit, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Internet, Richard Waters, Technology, Tristan Harris  Ad, Advertising, Andy Yen, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, GDPR, Internet, Internet business model, Mark Zuckerberg, Privacy, Richard Waters, Technology, Tristan Harris
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<p>Overmatter during edit:</p>  
<p>&nbsp;</p>  
<p>From end of first section/set-up:</p>  
  <p><em><a href="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/04/17205122/Brent-at-the-OII.pdf">Transcript with Brent Mittelstadt at the Oxford Internet Institute</a></em></p>
<p>&#8220;&#8221;Among the clamor over Cambridge Analytica, an emerging question is taking shape: In terms of online privacy, is there a practical way to change the &#8220;generally accepted standards&#8221; of our times?</p> <p><em><a href="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/04/17205241/Jorg-Pohle.pdf">Unedited transcript with Jorg Pohle at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society </a></em></p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>  
<p>Above &#8220;Too big to contain?&#8221;</p>  

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