Thursday, 29 March 2018


Justin Sullivan.
A closer look at Facebook’s self-flagellation tour reveals few substantial changes.

Buried in the third paragraph of Mark Zuckerberg’s recent full-page apologyis an unsettling prospect: that the Cambridge Analytica contractor who siphoned the Facebook data of millions of users did so through a method that may not be unique. “We expect there are others,” Zuckerberg wrote. “And when we find them, we will ban them and tell everyone affected.” The danger here is twofold—for one, public trust in Facebook is already reaching dangerous new lows. The second danger is more concrete: under terms set forth by the Federal Trade Commission, which is currently investigating Facebook’s privacy practices, each breach could cost Facebook tens of thousands of dollars, potentially spiking its fees into the trillions, though a settlement would likely be several orders of magnitude smaller.

Former F.T.C. officials say the company could be liable for as much as $40,000 per violation per day, multiplied by the tens of millions of users involved; in a statement, the acting director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said that “enforcement action” is one of the agency’s “foremost” tools when it comes to these sorts of breaches. And though Facebook “rejected” the suggestion that it had violated F.T.C. rules, the company, which is also facing a deletion campaign, mounting media scrutiny, and the express displeasure of lawmakers, seems to be hacking away at some of the thorniest branches of its uber-profitable business model, trading revenue for an opportunity to resell itself to a skeptical public. “If data isn’t helping people, we shouldn’t use it,” Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday evening, hinting at a newfound understanding, or at least a shift in sentiment, within the company. “This past week has underscored that we can do better. We’re going through our tools and approach with a fine-toothed comb.”

By Maya Kosoff.

Full story at  Vanity Fair.

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