The View From Here – The gigantic corporation Facebook says all it wants is to be your friend

Tom Henihan

Facebook recently invited users of its social media platform to send the company nude photographs of themselves, so the company could encrypt the images to prevent them being used in so called “revenge porn.”

“It’s demeaning and devastating when someone’s intimate images are shared without their permission, and we want to do everything we can to help victims of this abuse. We’re now partnering with safety organizations on a way for people to securely submit photos they fear will be shared without their consent, so we can block them from being uploaded to Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.”

Facebook asking users to send their intimate photographs to the company as a safety measure is to propose a solution that is worse than the problem.

One would need to be extremely naive sending any information, let alone deeply personal information, to a company that was recently exposed and called to account for sharing users’ information, most notably, to the now defunct British data company Cambridge Analytica.

And Cambridge Analytica is not the only instance: there is the Russian Internet Research Agency and on June 5 it was revealed that Facebook had a data-sharing arrangement with Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei.

And lets not forget Facebook’s primary function of collecting users’ data and providing it for use by advertisers.

In many ways, Facebook is the problem and offering solutions to any breach of privacy is absurd.

Facebook is an incessant distraction, a bottomless pit at the end of a ubiquitous conduit that carries little more than white noise and trivial nonsense.

However, that nonsense can be used to monitor and manipulate the biases, whims and predilections of its users, in terms of their consumer preferences and political choices as in the case with Cambridge Analytica.

While Facebook is not the social media platform of choice for the younger demographic, it is a mammoth and still growing concern.

Between March 2017 and March 2018 Facebook increased the number of users from 1.94 billion to 2.20 billion. By the end of this year that number is estimated to reach 2.35 million active users.

No single, private company should be allowed to have the reach and power that Facebook has or be allowed to have discretion over people’s private information.

Lately, Facebook has run ads trying to win back the public’s trust. The ads, which talk about the original happy, friendly times on Facebook when it made people feel less alone, are shamelessly maudlin and the luring tone of the narration is practically sinister.

The ad’s storyline goes from outlining the friendly, happy early times to offering a tepid admission that with click-bate and data sharing.

Facebook lost its way. The ad then goes on to say that all that is behind us now and once again the giant corporation with over 2 billion users cares about every individuals’ privacy and wants nothing more than to be everyone’s friend.

And of course, like all good friends with 2 billion other friends, Mark Zuckerberg and his company are now asking users to protect their most intimate information by voluntarily sending it to Facebook for safe keeping.

 

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