Can Facebook Be the Good Guy?
The metaverse and whistleblowers give us a lot to talk about.
A Quick Plug
Katherine Druckman and Doc Searls talk to Shawn Powers and Petros Koutoupis about Facebook’s metaverse focus and whistleblower problems.
If there is one guarantee in life lately, it’s that Facebook will give us something to talk about. Last week, we discussed the Facebook papers, whistleblower Frances Haugen’s allegations, and the metaverse announcement. We’ve since released Episode 91 as well, which explores the metaverse idea further.
Perhaps most surprising was Shawn’s fairly optimistic take:
But I think that they have an advantage in that they are the company that is in the weeds with that situation right now. Right. I mean they're in Congress voluntarily and you know, whistleblowery, so I mean, the good, the bad and the ugly. I think though that the company could take this opportunity to leverage all of this horrible, bad press and this evilness that they have brought upon themselves to do good. And, and I say that because who knows more about how to be creepy with privacy data than Facebook right now. . .
I mean, and if they lean into that, like, okay, we designed an AI or “the algorithm” as as it's known, we designed this thing and man, it got, they got the better of us. It got the better of everybody because it has done terrible things. And if they learn from that in anything other than how to make more money then, you know, it could be a positive. I like to think that, that there is still some soul left in the people working there. So maybe there's some hope.
We also touched a little on the spotlight Frances Haugen finds herself in, and how her ideas around end-to-end encryption may or may not have been misconstrued. People seem to fit the released information into their existing narratives, whatever those may be, and we hope people will take a few deep breaths and digest the released information carefully.
We hope you’ll dive in with us and explore these ideas, and then let us know your thoughts on the recent Facebook issues. Can they become the good guys and turn their reputation around?
Please let us know in a comment, on any of our social outlets, or via our contact form.
This Week’s Reading List
Exclusive: Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen warns company's encryption will aid espionage by hostile nations — A Facebook spokesman said: “The reason we believe in end-to-end encryption is precisely so that we can keep people safe, including from foreign interference and surveillance as well as hackers and criminals.
Scripting News: Facebook is us — The bullshit about Facebook keeps coming. It's not a fucking autocracy, it's a carrier. You could say everything you say about FB about a city like NY.
(15) Post | LinkedIn — I've got a big Twitter thread with tons of screenshots from the unredacted docs between Facebook and Google
Before the “Whistleblowers” there were “Goodbye” posts: leaving #Facebook Engineering in 2016 because of #China, User Content, and #EndToEndEncryption – dropsafe — Before the “Whistleblowers” there were “Goodbye” posts: leaving #Facebook Engineering in 2016 because of #China, User Content, and #EndToEndEncryption In 2016 I quit the best job I ever had: the most impactful, the most challenging, and (yes) the best paid. I did so in part because of explicable burnout from shipping a radical product, but also and primarily because of a shift in Facebook’s company goals towards degrading user-experience for profit, and for experimentally building message-censorship infrastructure to offer-up as a gift and to show willing, for entry into the Chinese market.
Eva on Twitter: "It is still a bad idea to idolize whistleblowers instead of focusing on the revelations the whistleblowers bring forward, but Frances Haugen says that her opinions on end-to-end encrypted messaging were misinterpreted and mischaracterized and e2e messaging is good, ok?" / Twitter — It is still a bad idea to idolize whistleblowers instead of focusing on the revelations the whistleblowers bring forward, but Frances Haugen says that her opinions on end-to-end encrypted messaging were misinterpreted and mischaracterized and e2e messaging is good, ok?
My interview with Steven Levy of Wired re: Frances Haugen leaking my Facebook Engineering “Goodbye Post” – dropsafe — My interview with Steven Levy of Wired re: Frances Haugen leaking my Facebook Engineering “Goodbye Post”
So...what now? - by Charlie Warzel - Galaxy Brain — There’s so much reporting out there from the consortium of news outlets on ‘The Facebook Papers’ that I don’t really know what to do or where to start. Over at Protocol they’ve collected a running list of stories published and I count 50 pieces (as of Monday evening), many of them thousands of words long. Apparently, (according to Casey Newton and Kara Swisher) there are like six week’s worth of stories like this coming.
FTC Study Confirms ISPs Collect a Scary Amount of Your Personal Data - ExtremeTech — Frustration with Big Tech is reaching a crescendo, and we could be headed for legislative efforts to reduce the influence of companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, but another technology heavyweight has managed to fly under the radar: your Internet Service Provider (ISP). A new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report examines what ISPs are doing with your data, and it’s not good news. Even when they promise not to sell your information, it often ends up in the hands of advertisers and other third parties.
The Facebook Papers Are a Big Fat Nothingburger - Reason.com — More than a dozen mainstream media organizations published reports today on the so-called Facebook Papers, a trove of internal company documents obtained and released by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen. The headlines promised dramatic revelations and damning indictments.
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