April 22, 2018

Your Facebook testimony recap from our Nation’s capital


Some *older* people who obviously do not use Facebook on a normal basis will either “do nothing, or overreact” to what’s been in the news about private data being accessed through “the” Facebook.  An app – through Facebook (pre 2014) – sold user data.  This data only included basic information that anyone who knows what Google is could get the same information.  Albeit it may take a bit more time, it can be done appropriately.  Many other sites offer the same information (the US Census for example), as well as physical public accessible information (courthouse for example).  Information included:  public profile, Page likes, birthday and current city.  This data was only available to them after the user checked an “I agree” box to the terms and conditions of the Facebook app AND the app in question.  These terms were not read by anyone (really, who does this anyway?) or followed by the app (go figure).  A change was made in 2014 and this *should* not happen again.  However, it’s only a matter of time until Facebook does get hacked – if not some other app find a way around the terms of service (TOS) to allow users to submit their information on their own behalf.

In regards to censorship:

Suzy doesn’t sit behind her computer and look for pages to block she doesn’t agree with.  However, an automated system may very well block a post/ad/page that includes terminology not allowed – if even talking about it in another manner.  For example, you can get kicked off of a plane for saying, “You can’t say bomb on an airplane!”  A page may be blocked if a post talks about “terrorism.”  This is even more true if a multitude of people “flag” the page.  As more and more people flag it, the system may automatically block it.  It may stay blocked until someone (page owner) appeals it.  After it gets appealed, Suzy from above may look at it and say, “Hmm, this post/video has X amount of views, and ½ X amount of flags… I’ll leave it blocked.”  Until it gets appealed again, etc, etc… Humans make mistakes.  Mr. Zuckerberg wouldn’t attest to it, but we know.  Of course, more conservative pages get blocked than liberal pages.  Or at least we hear more about them.  However, that could be because the conservative pages get flagged more often than the liberal pages.  On the other hand, it could be because potentially more of the employees who work in that department of Facebook have more liberal views.  And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and we as a group of people cannot be upset with this.  Mark Z. has it in his right (and the terms you agree to when creating an account) to block whatever he wants.  Let him.  They never agreed to allowing Facebook to function solely for your first amendment right.  As “the people” speak up and make noise, those pages in question will become blocked more often than not, or become unblocked until something similar happens.  If you don’t think this is right, I urge you to try to create YouTube videos without getting copyright strikes, or try getting an ad cleared through Facebook.  It happens everywhere and the only reason we’re talking about it is because Facebook is the behemoth it is and stands out like a sore thumb.

In regards to Advertisements:

Facebook does not “listen” to you or sell your data to other advertisers.  I’ve said this for a while now… Wherever you’re on the internet, someone is always watching and can block any site they deem necessary.  Or show you any ad they wish.  Work, home, mobile – Cox, ATT (home and mobile), Verizon, etc.  On a side but scary similar note – pretend your emails are the digital equivalent of a post card in the mail.  Anything and everything you put in an email is always done so without any security.  Chances are you’ve put more private information in an email.  Emails you send (especially if using Google), sites you visit, purchases you make, and more all speak to those advertisers to “sell” you ads.  And that’s just on the web.  Depending on what apps you give certain permissions – and if those apps talk to other apps (for example:  using Facebook to sign into Waze) – Facebook theoretically could have access to your location(s), your contact list, phone logs, microphone access, text messages in some cases, photos, and the list goes on.  So yes, Facebook very well could show you an add of some clothing you “took a picture of” or were chatting with someone about.  But please be aware, it’s not Facebook per say.  It’s sandboxed information.  Meaning it’s stored in one location, given unique identifiers, and Facebook allows advertisers to reach those potential customers (but not get any of that information themselves).  In many cases, I would almost argue Facebook doesn’t even necessarily know “who” is getting what ads.  As mentioned, many other companies do this.  Target does it (http://techland.time.com/2012/02/17/how-target-knew-a-high-school-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-parents/) along with many, many, others.   If you’re reading this on my site, the ads you see here in most cases should resemble the same ads you see on Facebook.

Longer story short:

If you want to keep your information private, don’t use Facebook.  If you DO want to use Facebook: