Chances are you’ve heard about this already but the news coverage hasn’t been saying what I think is significant, so I’m posting. The New York Times piece starts thus:
Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, intensifying scrutiny of the social media giant’s business practices as it seeks to rebound from a year of scandal and setbacks.
I heard about this while out for pizza with my chorus buddies after a performance. Friends on Twitter were talking about #FacebookDown, so I popped open my phone’s browser and got this: Facebook was down.
“Something went wrong” indeed. :-)
The superficial story on the TV news is that these are two separate woes – “Facebook troubles! First this criminal investigation news, then they’re hit with this big outage!” But I suspect it was no coincidence: it strikes me like the scene in the movie “The Sting” where the cops are arriving to bust the bookies, who quickly set fire to the evidence.
We shall see. Oh, see also the heading “burying the evidence” in my Jan. 7 post about the #MeToo abuse survivors group that got hacked by vile trolls:
“When the admins reported it to FB, FB didn’t investigate – without warning they ERASED THE WHOLE GROUP, destroying all the evidence.”
The other item about gross misbehavior with our intimate health data, by FB and its “business partners,” was in my Feb 28 post about why some patient groups can’t yet leave FB, and bears repeating. Note, this is about stuff you do outside Facebook that ends up in your FB advertising profile anyway:
Did you see the Wall Street Journal news that some health apps take intimate data you enter (or that the apps collect) and send it to Facebook?? “You give apps sensitive personal information. Then they tell Facebook.” Including a women’s health app that sends data about ovulation and menstruation, a cardiac app that sends your heart readings to FB, etc?? (And Realtor.com’s app sends FB info on houses you favorited.)
You know these beasts were aware of how nasty this is because as soon as the WSJ outed them this month, many of them stopped that very weekend.
See the pattern?
These perverse invasions keep reminding me of guys on a crowded subway who grope women’s bodies and then, if caught, throw their hands up and say “Hey, what???? I stopped, all right???”
I’m in no position to assess legal guilt, and besides, an investigation is not a conviction. And as I said in the Feb 28 post, I know many people feel they can’t leave Facebook. Just be aware:
- FB and its “business partners” are snooping far, far deeper into your behavior (and perhaps your underpants) than they let on, and creating an ever-bigger profile about you, your kids, everyone.
- They are making a business of exchanging it with others (selling, trading, or giving).
- Once it’s been acquired by someone outside FB, you have lost all control of what happens to it from then on – just as many teens have learned the hard way, about naked selfies they sent to a trusted friend.
- At least in the teens’ case they originated it … in Facebook’s case, they’re sneaking around, selling or trading info they find about you, then denying it, and then, when caught, destroying the evidence.
- Oh, except see also the heading “Two other concerns” in the Feb 28 post, which includes software they got teens to install that covertly gave FB permission to look at all their photos etc.
This is a freaking evil and dishonest company. Other companies may be just as bad – I’m not saying they’re not – just saying this:
Do what you must with Facebook,
but have your eyes open
and don’t believe a word Facebook says.
Previous posts in this series
- 1/7: Facebook, I’m out. Your irresponsibility with patient groups has gone too far.
- 2/6: Listen while hilarious Mighty Casey lays out my “why I ditched FB” in 18 tense minutes.
- 2/16: More about Facebook’s privacy and security
- 2/28: For patient groups, leaving Facebook isn’t easy: the connections can be valuable (includes the discussion of personal health apps giving yourdata to FB even if you don’t have a FB account.)