These are only my opinions, and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.
I don’t say this lightly, but has Facebook gone mad? Or did they go down some weird Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole and think that everything was upside down? Several years ago, Facebook considered charging companies for access to data. This comes from a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday, citing internal Facebook emails in an unredacted court document. I wish I could insert the emoji where the person slaps their face with the palm of their hand – just for effects. The fact that Facebook was considering this backs my theory that they’re not actually interested in change. It also amplifies the point that maybe they can’t change, or that they’ve had nefarious intentions all along.
I am not trying to be dramatic, but the fact that it’s been discovered that they had considered selling user data to companies is a big deal. Think about it. When the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, there was this idea that maybe Facebook didn’t know what they were doing. Or that they were this “innocent” company and they were taken by the big, bad, Cambridge Analytica. But the truth is – this is something that they’ve been thinking about all along. And imagine how it would have gone, had the Cambridge Analytica scandal not unfolded the way it did?
In addition to selling user data, Facebook employees also discussed encouraging advertisers to spend more money on the service, in exchange for increased access to user information. By monetizing their user data, Facebook would be doing a 180 degree turn when it comes to their policy of not selling user data. Can you see why this is so awful? I’d also like to remind you of Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress in April. Zuckerberg said “I an’t be clearer on this topic. We don’t sell data, that’s not how advertising works”. Sure, you didn’t sell the data but you had certainly had the conversations about selling it. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Facebook is also saying that these documents are being presented in a misleading way, and without context.
“Evidence has been sealed by a California court so we are not able to disprove every false accusation. We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends’ data with developers. Any short-term extensions granted during this platform transition were to prevent the changes from breaking user experience. To be clear, Facebook has never sold anyone’s data. Our APIs have always been free of charge and we have never required developers to pay for using them, either directly or by buying advertising.”
Maybe Facebook didn’t charge anyone for the API’s, but they did allow a company to use an API to steal data, which was then sold to a company who used it to help get Donald Trump elected president. Where am I going with this? In elementary school, my teachers used to say “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. At the time, I thought that meant you can’t stand by and let someone get beaten up. But I now understand it to mean that my actions have consequences. If I’m sitting by and watching something happen, then I am just as much part of that problem. And that’s what Zuckerberg is admitting to. Other companies used their API’s, which doesn’t make it their fault. Think again, Zuckerberg.