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Facebook lack of privacy is old, old news


I hate to be an “I told you so,” so I won’t be. I’ll just reprint something I wrote back in 2011:


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

The Federal Trade Commission has finally taken Facebook to task. Now, because of previous violations of its users’ privacy, the social network’s privacy policies will be subject to scrutiny by third-party auditors every two years for the next 20 years. And from now on Facebook must obtain approval from its users before making any changes to the way their personal information is shared on the network.

The FTC’s allegations against Facebook were as follows:

One can’t help wondering who is worse, Mark Zuckerberg for running his business this way, or the 800 milllion people who tolerate it and keep using his network anyway.

But it really doesn’t matter. The damage has been done. The data has already been taken from everyone and sold to everyone else. The genie can’t be put back in the bottle. Having to be honest from now on is hardly punishment; it’s more like a joke. Zuckerberg has already gotten what he wanted, 800 million times over. Nor would a monetary penalty have any effect. If Zuckerberg were shut down right now, or fined some inconceivable amount, he would still have more money than he could spend in several lifetimes. As with other giant industries and corporations, the only effective punishment, the only one that would make any real impression on the violator, is prison. Money, after all, takes all the sting out of any other sanction. Looks like the 1% wins again.


And prior to that, in 2010, I wrote the following:

 Okay, so I suppose all that does add up to “I told you so.” But I just wanted to say that the current stories about Facebook’s lack of concern for your privacy are not new and are not news. Cambridge Analytica is not the first organization to take advantage of Facebook’s policies, and it certainly won’t be the last. It just happens to be one of the biggest. That we know of.

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