Facebook: Explaining Again and Wanting Context

December 6, 2018

My grandmother, who raised three children in the Depression, told me again and again, “Never complain, never explain.” Good advice? Probably not. But her mantra makes more sense to me than “Deflect, deny, and spin.”

I thought about my grandmother when I read the Facebook post about the Six4Three explanation crafted by the wordsmiths at Facebook. Yep, Facebook, an outfit which has been in the news of late.

Information generated in the white hot flame of Silicon Valley’s business processes is an art form. Hey, no one appreciated Picasso straight away either. Before heading to Philz, I can visualize furious tapping on a laptop in order to paint word pictures of what could be done to generate revenue, enhance power, and augment one’s bonus. Those types of prose should not count for anything. The words are little more than clumsy ways to give ideas some shape.

I noted this statement:

The set of documents, by design, tells only one side of the story and omits important context.

Right. The fix is to provide more documents and provide more information about the “context.”

Several observations from rural Kentucky:

The documents were released, in my opinion, as a signal to Mr. Zuckerberg that he has annoyed some individuals in the UK government. I am not sure Mr. Zuckerberg grasps the type of hurdles the UK government can erect for him and his verbal parkour experts to navigate.

Next, the documents will act as a bit of a kick to the buttocks of some countries’ regulators, investigators, and investigative authorities. The notion of “cherry picking” and “context” is one that may cause some quite intelligent and capable information centric people to probe. Ah, probe. Interesting idea. Probe deeply. More interesting.

And Facebook is now in reaction mode. The best offense is a good defense, but the defense is coming too late for users. I am not a Facebook “user” although a software script posts pointers to my stories and videos on a page which belongs, I believe, to my late, much missed Tess the dog. With some services losing body count and the general buzz about Facebook drifting into the auditory pain zone, the defending, the deflecting, the apologizing have lost efficacy.

In short, more to come. One does not destabilize without getting dizzy from slaps about the ears. I say, old chum, have you been poked by a brolly? No. Soon perhaps. Soon.

Context? You want to provide context? Poke, probe, prod — whatever the word — the action will roil the social graph.

Stephen E Arnold, December 6, 2018


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