Is Facebook two-faced?

The resemblance is uncanny

Are the management of Facebook a bunch of lying toads?? Do its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, its COO Sheryl Sandberg and its public relations people all lie through their teeth?

What have the top team at Facebook done to ensure that they do not become the next MySpace, Geocities, Google Plus or Friendster?? What happens when the novelty wears off?

How do they keep people (the product) hooked and using Facebook all day, every day?? How do they ensure that everyone remains infected with FOMO? (Fear Of Missing Out)

Their answer was to link Facebook to as much other stuff as possible: to integrate and share everything about users that they could, legally and illegally, get away with.

Facebookers were encouraged to link their Spotify accounts, thus granting Spotify access to Facebook users’ private messages. Why?

People message friends about what they are listening to, what gigs they are going to, what they like. It all goes into the database.? People’s thoughts about albums, artists and rival music providers have all been given for free. It saves a whale of a lot of professional market research time and dollars.

People’s thoughts & opinions hoovered up for free by Facebook

Rinse and repeat with Netflix and anybody and everybody Facebook could get into the Facebook eco-system.? Anyone who had access to huge amounts of personal data was a target for Zuckerberg, so?Facebook organised data-exchange deals with companies based on the premise: give them what they want, and link them in to Facebook.

  • Yahoo! got real-time feeds of posts by users’ friends.
  • Cambridge Analytica got information on millions of voters via a quiz app.
  • Microsoft’s Bing was able to access the names of nearly all Facebook users? friends without permission.
  • Amazon was able to get at friends’ names and contact details.
  • Russian search engine Yandex had Facebook account IDs at its fingertips.

But someone started asking the hard questions, and people wanted control of their data. Finally the EU stepped in so that its citizens had the?legal right to control their information, and organizations that didn’t comply could face massive fines.

Facebook obfuscated, employed smarter lawyers and talked out of both sides of their mouths. What was being shared was not always obvious.

Then Facebook did deals with smartphone manufacturers, such as Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung, and gave the device makers access to each phone user’s Facebook friends’ profiles, when the handheld was linked to its owner’s account, bypassing protections.

An illusion of control was handed to the phone owner.? They?could turn off ?location history? in the Facebook app, and select ?never? for the Facebook app when it comes to knowing your location? You could also avoid Facebook’s ?check-in? feature, which is simply a workaround for Facebook to get your location with a single tap. Even after all that, Facebook would still know where you are and sell that information to others.

Clearly the exact method is not being revealed, but your IP address can be tracked: sometimes precisely, sometimes only to the city where your ISP is located. Wifi locations are known. Go here?for a map of all the wifi in your area.? MAC addresses are broadcast by your phone all the time. Apps are sending location info that you may not be aware of. It is not a difficult computing exercise to aggregate that data and pinpoint your location.

This information is extremely valuable to Facebook because that information is the basis of the data-sharing agreements with other companies that could kill Facebook simply by walking away.? It is imperative that?Zuckerberg maintains the fiction that users have control over their data when they don’t.

Have you ever had weird ?friend? suggestions put to you by Facebook.? ?You may know xxxx.? This could be why.

Of course, Facebook claims it only shared what everyone agreed to in the T&Cs.  Have you ever met anyone who has read every T&C that they have agreed to online?

As more and more of Facebook’s dodgy dealings make it into the public arena, more and more people are going to delete the app or close their accounts.

I deleted the app over a year ago. Life is so good without all the annoying Facebook interruptions these days.? I have kept my account for desktop use, as it is useful to see what people I may want to write about are saying on Facebook, but I have not looked at my personal account in 15 months now.? FOMO? Meh? If it is important, someone who cares will tell me.

If enough of us delete the app, the whole sorry mess that is Facebook will crumble.