Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Facing F-Book

"The inexorable growth of Google, Facebook, and Amazon has raised fears these giants are becoming too powerful. Here's everything you need to know":


The piece is reasonably brief yet informative on issues which are only recently starting to be addressed.

With reference to just one of the three entities discussed in the piece linked above, Facebook, and its burgeoning power, this problem has more, and even more dangerous, tentacles than simply making outside competition difficult or impossible. Below is a single paragraph from another piece, long but well worth the time:
You Are the Product by John Lanchester at London Review of Books.
(My highlighting)
....What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook.
That highlighted phrase is, or should be, chilling. It doesn't take much imagination to understand what could be possible, stemming from it, at some time in the near future. It's also not too comforting to read that Facebook's creator, Mark Zuckerberg has further aspirations - of becoming US President, there's some evidence that he is considering becoming a candidate in 2020's presidential campaign.


R J Adams said...

Slowly people are coming to realise the dangers we face from Facebook and other similar tech companies. Data mining is now big business and Facebook is one of the suppliers. It helped Trump get elected, and Brexit to become a reality. These companies are now so huge and powerful that governments cannot control them. Indeed, governments are in their pockets. Carole Cadwalladr is an investigative journalist who writes for the Observer/Guardian. Her detailed report on this very subject makes fascinating reading. It's very involved, but worth studying:

"The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked"

Zuckerberg as President? I've considered that possibility, though only briefly to avoid the onset of sickness!

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ thanks for the link - I got lost part way through it as I was called away from the screen - but did try to finish it through a haze of disquiet.

Grim outlook, and so many people are now addicted to F-book, they'll not want to face the truth. Google's much the same, and I realise that I'm one of theirs due to Blogger!
I'm not quite as dismayed by Google as by Facebook, and its many political implications -though perhaps I should be.

R J Adams said...

Frankly, Twilight, we're all 'one of theirs' - or, at least, the 99.9% of us who use Windows and the Google search engine.