As you should be painfully aware by now, data is not only proving to be the currency of the information age, but also the key to political power, and when you are the world’s largest social media company (as well as one of the largest, period), you have a ton of data at your virtual fingertips. It should come as no surprise that Facebook plays a considerable role in shaping the values of millions of people. After a painful mea culpa about Russia’s exploitation of Facebook to stir up dissent prior to the 2016 elections, Facebook and it’s CEO are being called on the carpet by the UK government to answer allegations that the company shared data on 50 million Facebook users with a consulting firm tied to both the 2016 US Presidential Elections as well as the infamous Brexit vote earlier in that same year.
Was last week’s article strangely prophetic?
Though I didn’t know about the bombshell announced today concerning the improper (and possibly illegal) transfer of data that should have been protected by Facebook, the media has been circling the embattled company like wolves, and as I mentioned in last week’s article, plenty of everyday folks I talk to regularly have expressed a growing sentiment that I also seem to write about with growing frequency. While the reports surrounding this controversy are shocking to me because of the vulgar disregard these people seem to have for anything resembling a moral compass, they are not surprising to me. I’d like to say the icing on the cake was the revelation that Google (“Don’t be evil.” c. 2000) has admitted to providing technology to our government to aid with its military drone program. I’m also willing to admit that the Google of 2000 is nothing like today’s behemoth that holds the internet in the palm of its hand, but again, they are part of this problematic elephant on the internet. We have all built a monster that somewhere along the way got away from its handlers and is being used to do as much harm as good. The only one who is going to rescue us is, ironically, ourselves, but only if we wake up and take responsibility for important aspects of our lives-privacy and critical thinking-that we have ceded to the internet in exchange for entertainment and convenience. Should you delete your Facebook? At this point, the value of that act is almost entirely symbolic (and maybe financial if enough people make this choice), but your information is still out there, in the hands of people with very questionable moral fiber. The real question is now, “What do we do about it going forward?”
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