The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica “Scandal” Is a Nothingburger, Guess what, you don’t have to be on Facebook.

“The entire Facebook-Russiabots scare is predicated on the notion that people don’t have free will.”


Image: The Obama White House archives


Exactly Reason Magazine. Perfectly said. (Both the headline and the quote.) Who didn’t know that their information was being analyzed? Seriously, who? There was no “breach.” People opted in. How have people forgotten this?

If you didn’t know that Facebook was gleaning your information then frankly you have no business weighing in on the Cambridge Analytica situation. (Almost) everyone knows that Facebook is a giant transaction.Your information is the price to play. Nothing is “free.”

Facebook is a good place to to share family photos with your mom. There is no better place also to see random vacation images from friends you long forgot and don’t care about. (#feelingsoblessed) It is also a reasonably good debate platform.

Facebook is getting paid somehow. We all know that information is their business and we all willingly opt into playing on Facebook. And hey, don’t take surveys. Or if you REALLY had no idea of what has been going on since the birth of social media and you have a beef with what happened, then just leave. We are all for periodically analogging out. Maybe for some a permanent log out would be best. No one’s keeping you from leaving.

(From Reason)

The theory goes something like this: Facebook obtained information on users who took a personality quiz with their online friends. Another outlet, the advertising firm Cambridge Analytica, harvested that information, brainwashed a bunch of rubes and then yada, yada, yada…Russia! Former Cambridge Analytica contractor Christopher Wylie told CNN that while at the company, he helped build a “psychological warfare weapon” to “exploit mental vulnerabilities that our algorithms showed that (Facebook users) had.” So, in other words, he worked in the advertising business.

Those who have covered politics for more than a single Trump cycle should know better than to use this kind of unnerving rhetoric for what amounts to nothing more than average microtargeting, which has been used by hundreds, if not thousands, of firms. Yet now, when it serves to bolster convoluted theories about an election having been overthrown, terms like “psychographics” and “breach” are being thrown around to make it sound like someone hacked into voter rolls after boring into the deepest recesses of our collective soul.

Here’s a thought: If you’re uncomfortable with data mining and your information being shared, don’t take surveys. Because, guess what, you don’t have to be on Facebook. You don’t have to use Twitter. You don’t have a constitutional right to play FarmVille without answering a survey. You don’t get free stuff. The very existence of social media and tech companies is predicated on mining data so that they, or third parties, can sell you things. That has always been the deal.

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