Facebook’s terrible past

by h16

Finding at the start of the week: this is not really great form for Facebook. And, more remarkably, in a few days, the situation of the world’s leading social network has deteriorated considerably since its setbacks, which we had clearly suspected for a few months or even a few years for the most keen observers, materialized and are now accepted even by the mainstream press.

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It must be said that events have not been kind with the global network of Marc Zuckerberg: for a few years, it was already whispered that it was reaching a ceiling in the number of users and in the population that it was able to reach and retain. . The latter, less young than the last social networks arriving on the market, is also the one with a noticeably higher purchasing power and therefore constitutes a juicier marketing target, but the fact remains that the latest years have shown the slowdown in growth and use.

And then there were increasingly massive data leaks. Last April, we learned that more than half a billion user accounts had thus leaked their precious data on the underworld networks of the darkweb.

However, last Monday, insistent rumors spoke of a new massive data leak from Facebook users. True or not, these leaks gently impose in everyone’s mind that the platform is very far from the security standards it claims to achieve, which will certainly not improve its performance in terms of customer or user loyalty …

At the same time as this leak, the press revealed the allegations made by Frances Haugen, ex-employee of Facebook, product manager at the giant, who accused the social network of “Choose profit rather than safety” and neglect the fight against the nasty things that sting disseminated on the online platform, especially to young people.

The story does not end there since, in the process, on Tuesday users observed a real disappearance of their platform: for several hours, Facebook’s servers were no longer responding.

The official explanation (human error, essentially) requires a little caution. For example, it would not be implausible that errors of routing inserted were calculated in order to guarantee that the platform is not accessible for the sufficient time necessary to correct certain internal problems which would have allowed, precisely, these massive data leaks.

We understand that this hypothesis will be fiercely denied by the management of the company, but the result is nonetheless the same: in a few days, what appeared a few weeks ago to be one of the most powerful social networks in the world. has become both the target of sharp criticism from a whistleblower, the object of massive leaks of sensitive user data and the victim of a major failure lasting several hours on its entire infrastructure …

The coincidences exist.

However, we can argue that these fall really well since, when one goes through Haugen’s allegations, one cannot help but notice the particularly oriented tone of the whistleblower.

So, when she talks about the platform’s security issues, she obviously does not want to talk about computer security, but rather the psychological security of users (users in the case of Instagram, a subsidiary of Facebook) and also of the security… of the official discourse: according to her, the algorithms of the Californian platform guaranteed, for example, a certain filtering during the American elections in November of last year making it possible to eliminate the information they considered false; apparently, these algorithms would have been stopped after these elections for low commercial reasons and purely material profit.

We understand it fairly quickly: for the “whistleblower”, the concern does not come from active filtering particularly present on the part of the platform, but from its modulation (downwards!) According to the objectives of the direction, or even the direction taken by the latter according to events. During his depositions, Haugen was relatively unambiguous:

In other words, Facebook would be especially guilty of not intervening enough on the information and speeches posted on its platform in order to keep only the elements compatible with the doxa currently in vogue: political correctness is not yet sufficiently imposed, and for the brave “whistleblower”, the little ones moments of freedom that the platform therefore leaves its users are still too generous in the face of what it quickly classifies as aggressions and potential risks for other users.

It is true that for the supporters of the single thought, freedom of expression has always been an unbearable threat.

In this context, we understand much better the gluttony with which the press seized the alerts in question, and how all this suddenly foams in the general direction of certain American politicians already on the lookout to transform this foam into massive political news. interventionists on digital life:

In short, everything is going exactly as planned, that is to say the worst: first, a whistleblower reveals the manipulations of Facebook and its subsidiaries on their users for profit and political ends. to purge or eliminate politically incorrect speech. Second, these alerts are used to force Facebook to further manipulate its users by increasing the politically correct purge.

Subsequently, we suspect that for fear of interpreting too loosely the new laws enacted following this affair, all social networks will outbid by further strengthening their own internal filtering.

Yes, really, the current period is not right for Facebook and the general trend does not look favorable for its future either: the whistleblower will be a practical tool to impose new content restrictions and state surveillance. ever stronger social networks. Massive data leaks, whether or not causing complete service interruptions, do not bode well for the security of platform users.

Facebook, which was a convenient way to “organize” revolutions (or, at least, let them organize), seems no longer to be in favor: perhaps those states which have found it practical have now realized that Facebook and social networks were also, in addition to a tasty means of propaganda, a real threat to their stability?
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