Thursday, March 22, 2018

“This was a breach”

From Mark Zuckerberg’s statement about Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and user data:

This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.
Anyone else notice the lack of agency in these sentences? Agency is present elsewhere in the statement, sort of: we did x ; we will do y. But at the heart of what happened: “This was a breach of trust,” as if the writer were an outside observer. Moreover, the breach, as Zuckerberg casts it, lies in the transfer of data from Aleksandr Kogan to Cambridge Analytica and in CA’s possible failure to delete that data — not in Facebook’s treatment of its users. Imagine facing anyone you’ve wronged and announcing “This was a breach of trust.” Then imagine the response you might get.

Notice too the way Zuckerberg disavows agency by assigning responsibility to Facebook’s users and to the mysterious workings of Facebook itself:
In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who shared their data as well as some of their friends' data. Given the way our platform worked at the time this meant Kogan was able to access tens of millions of their friends’ data.
You installed the app; you shared data: as the song says, don’t blame me. It’s just the way things happened, “given the way our platform worked at the time.” Not “given the way we designed Facebook, to scrape and sell your data, because that’s how we make money.”

Now I almost wish I had a Facebook account, just so I could have the satisfaction of deleting it.

comments: 1

zzi said...

"I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member."