O. sent this to me with the comment, “If this is true, it does not portend good things for freedom, in general, or firearms, given Facebook’s reach on the net.”
Facebook’s managers are deploying a new software upgrade that will dismantle myriad groups of like-minded political activists unless they get a special software-key from the company.
But Facebook managers are providing very limited information about which groups are being favored with the new key, prompting some activists to complain about possible political favoritism among Facebook managers, and many other activists to experiment with techniques and tricks to get the needed upgrade-key. …
Facebook’s software changes do not impact the individual pages that Facebook subscribers use to stay in contact with friends and to tout their relationships, statuses and accomplishments. The upgrade only effects the software that links Facebook’s “groups” of like-minded people, each of which is managed by one or more group administrators. …
The new software-upgrade will automatically archive all groups. Once archived, each group’s past activity will be still be visible on Facebook, but the groups’ administrators will lose access to their lists of group members. That means the administrators lose contact with everyone in their groups, and will be forced to recruit all those members again – unless Facebook provides them with the special upgrade software.
The entire process/policy change seems clunky, arbitrary, and unfair (as is Facebook’s famous wont). Wiping out entire groups? Why? Restoring some groups while leaving others not knowing whether they’ll live or die? What for? I go on wondering: How did Facebook become so rich and powerful when it treats its members like sh*t time and again? And when its management style resembles a chimp with ADHD?
But I find it hard to believe FB would be as blatantly, stupidly biased as the article implies — giving the privilege of the “special key” to The Brady Campaign with its mere 1,000 members, for instance, while withholding it from a libertarian group that has 60,000 members, and so on. Would FB managers deliberately, publicly promote “left wing” groups while at the same time utterly destroying conservative, libertarian, and (presumably) anarcho-capitalist ones?
I suspect another shoe will drop and this won’t turn out to be quite what it seems. Still … O’s right. The very fact that FB can — and will? — arbitrarily wipe out groups it doesn’t favor could be dangerous stuff. So heads up to freedomistas in general and gunfolk in particular.
And be glad when social media becomes decentralized — as it will and should. (More on that.) (And more, with emphasis on freedom.)
Yeah, this is troubling. I’ve never used FB but understands its value mainly as a networking tool. One troubling thing I experienced was it wants you to sign up without checking it out first, so I didn’t.
There’s also troubling news about the California Prison System. How much do you want to bet that the non-violent victimless criminals on drug charges will not be released while the violent ones will?
“How did Facebook become so rich and powerful when it treats its members like sh*t time and again?”
The same reason that seems to pop up in many other things lately: the followers don’t question – they just follow, they don’t question because they don’t want it taken away from them, they don’t want to be left out of the crowd…..if people give up their control to someone (or something) else then they shouldn’t be surprised when the “holder” power trips and sh*ts all over them…..when you “get it for free” there’s usually a price to pay along the line, and with FB it’s been every user’s privacy……
What goes up must come down – I expect the same thing to happen to FB eventually, too….kinda like what happened to MySpace….
The internet will remain “free” as long as people don’t create dominations resulting from “lemming syndrome”……the FB’s of the world will always try to exert some greedy-power move, but it only works if you play along…..
Besides what they owe their shareholders, Facebook as a private entity can pretty much be as biased as they wanna be. Despite the amount of content and updates the non-paying users pump into the social network, they don’t own it. It’s not a public resource.
If Mark Zuckerberg wanted a button on his desk that would take down all of facebook at his whim, I have no right to deny him that power. But I’d sure fight tooth and nail against giving 0bama that power over the non-government owned part of the internet.
That being said even I’ve got a facebook page. Someone wanted me to develop some scripts for them, and to do that I had to create an account. But you’ll never be able to read what I had for breakfast, sorry.
But you’re right, Claire, about that sh!t part. I can’t wait until FB is as irrelevant as myspace.
“Besides what they owe their shareholders, Facebook as a private entity can pretty much be as biased as they wanna be. Despite the amount of content and updates the non-paying users pump into the social network, they don’t own it. It’s not a public resource.
“If Mark Zuckerberg wanted a button on his desk that would take down all of facebook at his whim, I have no right to deny him that power. But I’d sure fight tooth and nail against giving 0bama that power over the non-government owned part of the internet.”
Standard Mischief — Of course I know and agree with that (as does most everybody here, I suspect). That said, though, if Facebook attracts hundreds of millions of members by posturing as a neutral forum where they can all just get together and “do their thing” within a framework of known policies — then plays covert tricks to promote favored members and damage unfavored ones, it’s both unethical (no surprise) and dangerous. People come to trust it. Then it uses that trust to harm some and deceive others.
As I said, I really doubt that FB’s actions in this case are as politically purposeful as some think. And FB certainly has the authority to do what it’s doing.
But when distributed social networking one day (soon, I hope) blows government-like Facebook off the map … yeah, it’ll be a great good thing.
As others have mentioned, FB is a private entity and can run itself as it pleases. Anyone using FB is there by their free will and can leave if they decide that the rules are too restrictive. As long as this is the status quo, all is kosher. If FB is bending to any governmental pressure, then we have problems.
Now the real issue is, “If it is pressure from .gov A) How do we recognize it and B) How do we deal with it. These are the questions that matter as I see it.
Why is it that, every time anybody in any freedomista forum criticises a private business, so many people feel the need to pop up and say, “It’s a private business. It can do whatever it wants”?
Yes, that’s true.
But in no way does that absolve it from the moral/ethical responsibility for its actions. And when a business is as formidable in its field as Facebook, it can indeed be dangerous.
To say that there’s no problem as long as FB is acting on its own hook without government pressure is simplistic. FB can be a complete bastard with or without the government.
Claire – They always have to point it out, because since you didn’t say it yourself obviously you’re either ignorant or a closet statist. They’re only trying to help you be perfect like them!
LOL, thanks, damaged justice. I’ll look forward to the day I reach shining perfection along with the rest of the freedomista world.
FB is a private business, but that doesn’t mean it can do whatever it wants. I have no idea what Zuckerberg does not know or does not understand, but people a lot smarter than he is figured this out a long time ago.
“The direction of all economic affairs is in the market society a
task of the entrepreneurs. Theirs is the control of production. They
are at the helm and stcer the ship. A superficial observer would believe that they are supreme. But they are not. They are bound to
obey unconditionally the captain’s orders. The captain is the consumer.
Neither the entrepreneurs nor the farmers nor the capitalists
determine what has to be produced. The consumers do that. If a businessman does not strictly obey the orders of the public as they are conveyed to him by the structure of market prices, he suffers losses, he goes bankrupt, and is thus removed from his eminent position at the helm. Other men who did better in satisfying the demand of the consumers replace him.
“The consumers patronize those shops in which they can buy what
they want at the cheapest price. Their buying and their abstention
from buying decides who should own and run the plants and the land. They make poor people rich and rich people poor. They determine precisely what should be produced, in what quality, and in what quantities. They are merciless egoistic bosses, full-of whims and fancies, changeable and unpredictable. For them nothing counts other than their own satisfaction. They do not care a whit for past merit and vested interests. If something is offered to them that they like better or that is cheaper, they desert their old purveyors. In their capacity as buyers and consumers they are hard-hearted and callous, without consideration for other people.”
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, Scolar’s Edition, p.271
I have a FB account but don’t post much personal data there. I’ll be watching this closely. If Zuckerberg and/or his managers think they can control their customers, they will lose my patronage, and I suspect many others as well. If nothing else, I’ll be following the links regarding decentralized social media resources.
A spoiled jewish New Englander and Harvard grad in his 20s makes a site specifically for college students and it’s got a massive left wing bias. Who could have pictured that outcome?
Facebook is mainly good for exposing the weak and stupid. Despite the total lack of privacy on that site people feel like they can say pretty much anything, post any embarassing photo… Back when MySpace was the “In” social network everybody would reveal the most humiliating secrets to people they barely knew through those silly “get to know your freinds” surveys.
On facebook though, these same people just have the overwhelming urge to immediatly log on and share every stupid thought, every mortifying moment right as they happen. It can be quite amusing.
I’d wager that access to the golden key for facebook, will be based on the golden rule. The ones with the gold get the key. I’m sure there will be arbitrary rules about who can and can not have access, but mostly it will go to organizations that have enough money to buy (rent, access, bribe) FB. I’d also guess that FB will filter out anything to “contreversial” and anything that might get FB hasseled by the US Govt, or other Govts. I’d also wager that FB will not suffer from this.
>But in no way does that absolve it from the moral/ethical responsibility for its actions.
Agreed. Yet so far, the Network Effect has been winning over what should be a righteous shunning of FB and their moral/ethical failures.
I see parallels in FB and the typical shopping mall. The public is invited, even welcoming the mall-walker exercise club, but try to hold an anti-meat and anti-bee slavery rally right in front of the honey-baked ham store and you’ll find out right quick that they still consider it private property.
Even private business have to follow certain moral and ethical codes. They should be following their mission statement which every business should have. If they stray from any of the above, then they’re not a good business, no matter how private.
Without getting all snarky about it, I’ll just say that if you don’t like their ethics, or morals, or business plan, or whatever, simply don’t play their game.
They don’t owe anybody anything. Perhaps we don’t like their modus operandi, but we’re not bound to them by anything.
It’s sorta like saying “if you vote for somebody, you just encourage him”. Same thing here. If you participate with them, you are in essence approving of their methods.
Don’t like’em? Dump ’em. The world will not end, and other media entities will take over based on better methods.
Kid: Thanks for repeating that yet again. Maybe one of these days, those basic fundamentals will sink in to the rest of us. Until then, you keep on tirelessly pointing it out. There’s hope for us yet!
Kentucky Kid & damaged justice — All that’s very true. No doubt about it. But nothing anybody has said negates O’s basic point or mine — that a large, powerful business that most users perceive as being nothing but a neutral forum for everyone’s use can do extremely dangerous things if it covertly begins favoring certain political groups over others.
As I said in the original post, I’m not persuaded that’s what Facebook is doing.
But this is not a question of government vs private interests or whether angry customers can walk (because of course they can). It’s a question of how powerful organizations can manipulate masses of people (and therefore manipulate things like public perception and votes) without the vast majority of those people knowing what’s going on.
Did I misstate my point badly? If so, mea culpa.
Claire: Nah, it’s just me being bored enough to troll the self-righteous. Who of course will never get the joke, since it’s on them. And you certainly don’t need defending by me or anyone else 🙂
damaged justice … I shoulda knowed that. Thank you.
Facebook, I’m sure, is a corporation. A corporation is a creature of the State, literally; it would not exist in anything like its present form without the permission and blessing of the State. As such, it must and will serve its Creator, whether in subtle, covert, or gross, overt manner; its nature is such that it can do no other.
The idea that a “private business” can do whatever it likes is of course true in principle; but there are almost no actual private businesses in Amerika any more, certainly not among those of any size at all. It is all one vast, intricately interlocked Corporation; it has no soul, it exists only to profit itself, and you are its prey.
A few links of possible interest:
FBI fights to protect ISPs that snoop on their customers
Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’
Are there any back doors in PGP? – Philip Zimmermann
And would he tell us if there are?
ElcomSoft Breaks iPhone Encryption
Let’s make it very clear: no privacy purist should ever use an iPhone (or any other smartphone, probably).
They seem to be really proud of their exploit, as well as their policy to make their tools available only to established law enforcement, forensic and intelligence agencies as well as select government organizations.
Well, it really does take all kinds, I guess.
“It’s a question of how powerful organizations can manipulate masses of people (and therefore manipulate things like public perception and votes) without the vast majority of those people knowing what’s going on.”
Again I say, people have to step up and take care of themselves….educate themselves….take some responsibility for themselves…..and not just wander thru life following the herd…..you can only fool a fool, not those who think about owning their actions……
As long as there are people out there who allow corps or other people to “get over on them” then there will always be corps and people trying to do just that….cuz they can get away with it…..
Good luck on that, naturegirl. For what you hope, I think we just might need that new species we were talking about the other day.
Or maybe if we could just persuade everybody to give up their “free education” courtesy of the gummint …
Finally had a chance to skim your decentralized social networking links, Claire.
I’d probably argue that way back in the net dark ages (5-7 years ago) we bloggers were all moving toward decentralized social networking when something happened: blog spam.
It’s hard to believe, but just a few years ago almost every blogging platform had this awesome feature called trackback (technically “pingback”). Thus if I linked to a post in Claire’s blog from a post on my also decentralized blog, there was automatically a link created on Claire’s post pointing to mine. This worked great until someone started pimpin’ /!agr@.
Not only have many people shut off trackbacks completely, but on some blogs, the readers no longer even get a link back to their own place on the web when they leave a comment, (and normally my nom de web 2.0 doesn’t end in “(dot) com” 😉
Anyway, if they can create a decentralized currency called bitcoin, then surely they can think of a way to keep spam at bay – maybe a decentralized ratings system based on a web of trust one builds up between blogger readers and commenters, or something.
I thought that whole new species thing was intriguing….as long as it’s an improved one (which there’s no guarantee of)….
It’s a matter of basic caveat emptor.
As mentioned, it’s our individual responsibility to educate ourselves and be aware of what’s happening around us . . . situational awareness on another level.
And it’s an ongoing, forever situation, often phrased as eternal vigilance.
Forums such as this one are instrumental in getting the message out, so keep on keepin’ on, folks.
“Anyway, if they can create a decentralized currency called bitcoin, then surely they can think of a way to keep spam at bay – maybe a decentralized ratings system based on a web of trust one builds up between blogger readers and commenters, or something.”
Good comment, good history lesson, and good point, Standard Mischief!
Kentucky Kid — I don’t think anybody here would disagree about our individual responsibility — and thank you for finding this a valuable place. Alas, the unfortunate reality (which governments and businesses like Facebook always exploit) is that most people don’t educate themselves, aren’t vigilant, and can easily be manipulated — to the detriment of us all. I don’t believe that’s ever going to change.
“Alas, the unfortunate reality (which governments and businesses like Facebook always exploit) is that most people don’t educate themselves, aren’t vigilant, and can easily be manipulated”
Absolutely true. There’s just nothing you and I can do about it except keep pounding out the message of self-reliance and ongoing scrutiny of all public dealings, both private and governmental.
“Big Brother” cannot protect us, and we really don’t want him involved any more than he already is. It’s up to us to live with the situation and influence it whenever we can . . . seldom though that may be.
“‘Big Brother’ cannot protect us, and we really don’t want him involved any more than he already is. It’s up to us to live with the situation and influence it whenever we can . . . seldom though that may be.”
A great big giant AMEN to that.