QTIP: Two-Faced: Delay, Deny and Deflect
Posted on November 23rd, 2018
Is Facebook your friend? Are you OK with how Facebook uses data about you that it collects? Was Facebook’s motto "move fast and break things" ever a great idea?
Billions of users here and around the world really like Facebook. They can have fantasy friendships with Beyonce and Jay Z, Michelle and Barrack, Donald and Melania, internet trolls, Assad's man-hunters, Putin's FSB.
What could possibly go wrong when billions of users docilely accept Facebook’s promises that radical transparency is actually open, reciprocal, or even a good thing? Spoiler alert -- the bad news just keeps coming.
"Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough." Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, interviewed by BusinessWeek
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg seems certain that he’s the smartest guy in any room. When things break at Facebook he soberly assures us that he can fix whatever is wrong. A few may continue to accept those assurances because Zuck says that he’s passionate a lot. For the rest, that ship has sailed.
The New York Times
Protecting user privacy against rampant abuse by Facebook is an EU focus, but its regulators were driven to forcefully act by anti-competitive advantages fueled by the same deceptive practices that propelled Facebook’s dominance in the European advertising sales market.
Meanwhile, almost as an side-show, Europe continues to be besieged by Russian hacking, misinformation and meddling in elections.
We now know that Facebook C.O.O. Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In author and inspirational icon) was pleadingly passionate at delaying, denying, and deflecting mounting evidence (provided to her early in the game by Facebook’s own cyber security experts) that Russia had weaponized the social media platform in what became a spectacularly effective misinformation gambit that sowed chaos during our 2016 presidential election. This one is on Ms. Sandberg. The details aren’t pretty.
Why does this matter?
As if damage caused by Facebook’s deflections of warnings about Russia’s unfettered weaponization in 2016 weren’t bad enough; more than 70 other Facebook acquisitions and properties that include Instagram, WhatsApp, and Confirm: Government Issued ID Verification Platform continue to make it a fat and floundering target ahead of the 2020 election.
Is Facebook top management incompetent or malign? Evidence suggests the latter.
An investigation by The New York Times recently detailed what Facebook insiders and many in the wider tech industry have understood for some time; that Facebook lies a lot, that Facebook is cavalier with user data and vetting content, and that Facebook may be so broken even Zuck can’t fix it.
More recent news about Facebook:
NYTIMES: November 14, 2018 Delay, Deny and Deflect: Russian meddling, data sharing, hate speech — the social network faced one scandal after another. This is how Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg responded.
Washington Post: November 17, 2018 Facebook "Yes, Facebook Made Mistakes in 2016 But We Weren’t the Only Ones"
NYTIMES: December 5, 2018, Facebook Used People’s Data to Favor Certain Partners and Punish Rivals, Documents Show
©Quentin Leo Company