Did Satan unintentionally persuade Eve to eat the forbidden fruit? Did Adam unintentionally blame God for his mistakes? Did Facebook unintentionally upload email contacts without users consent?
That is the social media network’s official line. Unintentional. Rob Price:
A security researcher recently noticed Facebook was asking some new users to provide their email passwords when they signed up — a move widely condemned by security experts.
Duh. Remember, though; this is what Facebook does. First it gets caught doing what it should not. Then it announces that only a few of its 2-billion users were affected and publishes a relatively insignificant number.
Facebook harvested the email contacts of 1.5 million users without their knowledge or consent when they opened their accounts.
OK, my bad– insignificant relative to the 2-billion Facebook users.
Third, Facebook often waits awhile before updating the numbers in each scandal, which often gets up into the hundreds of millions of users. That company has some very good public relations hacks.
A Facebook spokesperson said before May 2016, it offered an option to verify a user’s account using their email password and voluntarily upload their contacts at the same time.
Even voluntarily, nobody likes that even if many Facebook users did it without consideration to what was really going on with those contacts.
However, they said, the company changed the feature, and the text informing users that their contacts would be uploaded was deleted — but the underlying functionality was not.
Translation: “We said we stopped but we didn’t; and thank you for all the additional information you gave us so we can spy on you and your family and friends.”
Anybody besides me see a problem with this kind of methodology? Facebook has become so big and complex that it is likely even executives do not know how the underlying technology works relative to actual privacy issues.
The question I ask is, “Did Facebook do those deeds intentionally?” I think the answer is yes. Does that growing pile of misdeeds make Facebook evil? If it’s intentional, I think the answer is yes.
Facebook makes a living by gathering information about users, then using that information so advertisers and promoters can manipulate those same users, and for politics or products, it works.
How is that kind of manipulation not evil?