Facebook: It Does Do Interesting Things

July 11, 2018

Look at Facebook from the vantage point of a grandmother looking at her grandchildren, and Facebook looks one way. Check out the company as a developer with special access to Facebook users, and Facebook looks another.

I read “Russian Company Had Access to Facebook User Data Through Apps.” Then I read “Facebook Introduced Secretive New Developer Terms to Prevent Another Cambridge Analytica.” The headline seems encouraging.

Put these stories against the background of Facebook’s US$600,000 fine for its unintentional, wow-we-are-sorry Cambridge Analytica misadventure.

What is Facebook?

In the US, Facebook is a success story, operating like any well oiled, money making machine. Outside the US, the UK and EU may see the firm differently. Companies do not get fined if it stays within the bright white lines of laws and regulations.

The question is, “What’s the correct way to pursue revenue via online information services?”

The answer, it seems is to do whatever is expedient. Do what can be done and apologize if those bold actions run over a baby deer or take out a flock of geese focused on their computing devices.

What’s the trajectory of these “act first, apologize later” tactics?

For one thing, we have increasing censorship. China, it appears, has cracked down on some aspects of the digital life. Other countries dabble with information control. Iran and Turkey have been innovative.

The epicenter of “act now, apologize later” seems to be centered in a relatively small number of companies. So what’s not to like about secret developer deals and disruption? Think of the opportunities.

Stephen E Arnold, July 11, 2018


One Response to “Facebook: It Does Do Interesting Things”

  1. Yalu on July 12th, 2018 4:14 am

    It’s only a matter of time before the authorities crack down on Facebook. It’s gotten away pretty much everytime after doing the nasty with user data and its “act now, apologize later” policy has its days counted tbh.

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