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Social Networks Businesses Facebook The Almighty Buck

Why It's So Hard To Trust Facebook (cnn.com) 139

Brian Stelter, writing for CNN: Why won't Facebook show the public the propagandistic ads that a so-called Russian troll farm bought last year to target American voters? That lack of transparency is troubling to many observers. "Show us the ads Zuck!" Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jason Calacanis wrote on Twitter when The Washington Post reported on the surreptitious ad buys on Wednesday. Calacanis said Facebook was "profiting off fake news," echoing a widely held criticism of the social network. It was only the latest example of Facebook's credibility problem. For a business based on the concept of friendship, it's proving to be a hard company to trust. On the business side, Facebook's metrics for advertisers have been error-prone, to say the least. Analysts and reporters have repeatedly uncovered evidence of faulty data and measurement mistakes. Facebook's opaqueness has also engendered mistrust in the political arena. Conservative activists have accused the company of censoring right-wing voices and stories. Liberal activists have raised alarms about its exploitation of personal information to target ads. And the news business is worried about the spread of bogus stories and hoaxes on the site. Some critics have even taken to calling Facebook a "surveillance company," seeking to reframe the business the social network is in -- not networking but ad targeting based on monitoring of users. Over at The Verge, Casey Newton documents inconsistencies in Facebook's public remarks over its role in the outcome of the presidential election last year. Newton says Facebook's shifting Russian ads stories and unwillingness to disclose information citing laws (which seem to imply otherwise) are damaging its credibility.
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Why It's So Hard To Trust Facebook

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  • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @03:44PM (#55161131) Homepage

    Why should we trust Facebook?

    It's not a very good place to be considering all narcissists and trolls.

    • It's not a very good place to be considering all narcissists and trolls.

      Sounds like a representative sample of humanity to me.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's just because all the people you interact with tend to suck. Silicon valley turtles on down.

      • It's not a very good place to be considering all narcissists and trolls.

        Sounds like a representative sample of humanity to me.

        Or the US Congress anyway.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <[mashiki] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday September 08, 2017 @05:27PM (#55161713) Homepage

        Sounds like a representative sample of humanity to me.

        Move out of the city. Country life makes people better, not even kidding on that.

        • I keep saying this, but no one believes me because they feel a high salary is all they need in life.
          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            I keep saying this, but no one believes me because they feel a high salary is all they need in life.

            Ask them if they ever "go-away" on vacations/camping to the middle of nowhere. You can bet that most if not all of them do, and that they'll also say it no longer relaxes them like it used to. That'll probably be due to their reliance on cell phones/etc.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is from an AC, so take this for what it will, or just dismiss it if you would like:

      A few years back, I was in a humidor at a local place. A friend of mine took a picture of me there, posted it to FB.

      A week later, my health insurance company at the time sent me a letter demanding a full physical with bloodwork, or else pay smoker's rates.

      Coincidental?

    • by ctilsie242 ( 4841247 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @04:33PM (#55161449)

      Has FB done much to earn my trust? Let me count the ways...

      Mention something in a message, and see ads about it forever more.
      The fact that they demand real life info about you, and will "Zucc" your account if not. Makes a great place for stalkers.
      The fact that web forums, and many other things are moved to FB groups. Too many eggs in a non private basket.
      The fact that is difficult to remove stuff. The only mass delete utility is a Chrome extension, and it has to be run a number of times to remove posts, likes, etc. Even with Reddit, I can run a script and clean an account out completely.
      The fact that some sites require FB for authentication.
      The fact that even if I am not on there, I still get tagged in images, and an account is sort of built even without me creating it.

      • The fact that web forums, and many other things are moved to FB groups.

        I call that "shutting down the forum", since it renders it nonexistent to me.

        The fact that some sites require FB for authentication.

        In the same vein, sites that do this are sites that effectively do not exist.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          That's all well and good, but as it happens to more and more of the internet, you (and i...) will be able to use less and less of the internet.

          I'm seeing it all over. Local business: "that info is on our web page..." by which they mean "our Facebook page", which I will not connect to, so that info is inaccessible to me.

          Examples are almost endless and growing year over year. Facebook is becoming "the internet" for many people, and the more that happens, the more people like us get marginalized.

          Consider tel

          • That's all well and good, but as it happens to more and more of the internet, you (and i...) will be able to use less and less of the internet.

            Personally, I've found that the number of sites that have become invisible to me because of this has pretty much stabilized. This likely varies a lot depending on your needs, though. I've noticed that the sorts of sites likely to be sucked into the black hole that is Facebook are not likely to be sites that are of great value to me, so I haven't really experienced too much loss.

      • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

        If you've got nothing to hide...
        Oh, wait, you were talking about Failbook.

    • I've not been on Facebook long. But what I see is not good. Ads, ads, and more ads. Adblock doesn't block them by default. I never saw this crap on google+. And clickbait galore, it's ridiculous. As for the posts, the vast majority of them are highly political and about controversial subjects (though maybe that's just the friends and family I have??). The rest of the posts are people changing their profile picture with a bevy of "you look awesome" comments after it. The whole place feels just a bit sl

      • "Sleezy and rundown" is an apt description.

        The other day I was taking a shit and, against my better judgement, I clicked on one of Facebook's spammy notifications.

        First of, the notification itself was an outright lie. "You have 2 new messages". Yet when I opened the damned thing, no new messages for the past month.

        Since I was still in the crapper, I decided to peruse my "feed". What sorry and insufferable dregs of humanity I found there! Nothing at all but bold stupidity, unashamed ignorance, supine politi

        • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

          Since I was still in the crapper, I decided to peruse my "feed". What sorry and insufferable dregs of humanity I found there! Nothing at all but bold stupidity, unashamed ignorance, supine politically correct bootlicking, semi-literacy, rudeness, and all around craptasticness.

          And they say location aware ads don't work. Here you are, taking a shit and presto! crap ads thrown in your face.

    • the same reason my neighbors dont have a key to my home.
    • Who in their right mind would even consider "trusting" Facebook? That company does not even try to hide it's contempt for users and hatred for all varieties of freedom.

      Facebook is operated by the "Progressive" nomenklatura for the benefit of the financial oligarchy and their surveillance state. So far as I can tell they make no attempt to hide this, and in fact openly celebrate it.

      A plebian user trusting Facebook is like a sheep trusting a pack of hungry wolves.

    • Someone builds a system for the express stated purpose of building psychological profiles for large-scale manipulation. Companies jump on it, because they can use it to persuade people to buy their crap. Eventually someone figures out that it can be used to manipulate elections. Everyone acts shocked.
    • Let's not forget their algorithms determining what we get to see and what we don't.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Think about it, you get to hear news that your very own peers promote, that's something you don't typically get on #fakenews cnn. You have the ultimate source of news freedom on Facebook verified by your peers to be 100% accurate and true. IMHO Facebook should be the *only* source of news one digests in a given day...

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday September 08, 2017 @03:45PM (#55161145)

    It's impossible.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @03:47PM (#55161155)

    Since when did Facebook have credibility?

  • Why won't Facebook show the public the propagandistic ads that a so-called Russian troll farm bought last year to target American voters?

    Because views cost money. That Russian troll farm is going to have to pay for the privilege of having you see the ad.

    (Note: that is meant to be sarcastic; I shouldn't have to point that out, but a surprising number of people have defective sarcasm detectors)

  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @03:55PM (#55161205)
    Neither have I. Remember kids once upon a time there were commercials like this [youtube.com]. You never trust anyone who's only in it for the money. That's our Free Enterprise Capitalism lesson for the day. You're welcome.
  • by cunina ( 986893 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @03:55PM (#55161211)
    Mark Zuckerberg has been untrustworthy since Facebook's inception - in fact, before that. For the few who don't already know the story, he stole the idea from the Winklevoss brothers, and did so in a particularly underhanded way, by pretending to code it as a work-for-hire but then running off with it for himself. In fact, Zuckerberg himself calls people who trust him "dumb fucks" [businessinsider.com]. On that one point and that one alone, I'm willing to take his word.

    It would be very, very strange if a company started by a person this amoral was based on ethics and goodness.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      He was funded by InQTel, a CIA front.

      FB delievers complete dossiers on virtually all of the worlds non-poor people. Great CIA win !

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by JohnFen ( 1641097 )

        (Engaging pedant mode)

        Calling something a "CIA front" implies that that you aren't supposed to know that the CIA is involved in it.

        InQTel was, from day one, openly a CIA partnership program and advertised as such, so not really a "front".

    • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

      A 19 year old Zuckerberg probably said that in a chat.

      Funny thing about the Winklevoss thing is that there were LOTS of social networks cropping up which could have been Facebook.

      The fact that some PHP app written by a kid in school turned into what it is today, probably has more to do with the right business decisions, connections and luck, rather than being "first". It wasn't first by a long shot.

      More than likely, the Winklevosses had the next Classmates.com.

    • The funny thing is that he didn't even invent the "pretend to work on it and steal ideas instead" approach. He stole THAT from Bill Gates, who intentionally dragged feet on Word for Mac while he developed his own competing GUI.
  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @03:55PM (#55161215) Journal
    Facebook goes out of it's way to datamine you, track you, surveil you, and otherwise monetize you to death, and you're really not getting anything of value in return.
  • Ugh (Score:3, Funny)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @04:00PM (#55161235)

    Conservative activists have accused the company of censoring right-wing voices and stories.

    Conservative activists and non-conservative activists have accused them of censoring right-wing stories. And we all know it's true. First it was a bug with the bot, then they claimed they needed to control the bot to better censor things, then they admitted to hiring more humans to manually adjust the bot, injecting more bias.

    I imagine a liberal activist who actually cares about free speech, censorship, etc. also complained. There's got to be at least one.

    Liberal activists have raised alarms about its exploitation of personal information to target ads.

    Ah, here's the liberal mention. Actually, it's the conservatives and other non-liberals who are most vocal against Facebook. I'm sure there are liberals against Facebook's use of personal information (and many more than the hypothetical one who complained about the targeted censorship), but for the most part, liberals love Facebook. They love to feed the machine and any protest is toothless and pointless. Like wearing a mocha colored bracelet for some anti-corporate, free-trade whatever coffee awareness while sipping on your Venti Mocha Frappe Crapa Latte.

    Of course, this isn't about politics, this is about age. Younger people love and use Facebook much more than older people. And younger people tend to be more liberal (becoming more conservative as they age). We've got "adults" who don't know a world without Facebook, and don't know a world with privacy, so many of them simply don't see the invasion.

    TFA could have just mentioned that people have been complaining about censorship and privacy violations (I assume TFS was copy-pastad from TFA), but no. It had to get a divisive, political angle in there. Conservatives mad about this. Liberals mad about that. Both should be mad at both, as should non-partisan people.

  • But the main one is easy: Zuckerberg is involved.

  • I love it so much. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @04:03PM (#55161275)

    When Facebook was censoring posts, and taking down insane things under the pretext of "hate speech" you never heard a peep from the liberals.

    Now there's a chance of a Russia connection so OMFG WE WANT ANSWERS!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CajunArson ( 465943 )

      Hypocrisy, thy name is Hillary sycophants.

      Here's another one: According to this, there is now literally infinitely more evidence showing that Zuckerberg "colluded" with the Russians by directly taking money to spread their supposedly pro-Trump propaganda.

      If I recall correctly, the usual SJWs claimed that non-proven allegations of a similar nature were outright "treason" by Trump. So based on their standard, Zuckerberg literally committed treason with Russia -- and unlike Trump there's actually proof that it

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        There's a difference between people masquerading as Americans paying Facebook for pro-Trump or anti-Clinton advertising and Trump's son, son-in-law and then campaign manager going to a meeting with purported representatives of Putin to get the goods on Clinton.

        • by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @07:38PM (#55162209)

          You're 100%. There's tons of proof they colluded.

          Except oh wait. If there was ANY useful evidence AT ALL they would be screaming it from podiums and ACTUALLY CHARGING THEM.

          I've never seen a more bloodthirsty political environment and yet Democrats are still grasping at straws and swing their dicks in the dark hoping that somehow if they swing their dicks enough they'll eventually fuck a pussy.

    • When Facebook was censoring posts, and taking down insane things under the pretext of "hate speech" you never heard a peep from the liberals.

      Now there's a chance of a Russia connection so OMFG WE WANT ANSWERS!

      Meanwhile, the NH has found that out-of-state voters [washingtontimes.com] probably tipped the state to Hillary away from Trump, and almost definitely stole the Senate seat.

      (NH allows for same-day voter registration, and you don't need a NH license to vote - only a "promise" that you've moved to NH and that you're in the process of getting your license transferred. Using round numbers, of 6,000 non-resident voters who registered on the day of the election, 5,000 have not actually moved to NH 9 months later. MA and VT are predomi

  • Green Machine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @04:06PM (#55161285) Journal

    I just noticed that Slashdot is deleting comments by Anonymous Cowards that contain racist content. Is this some new policy?

    I only found out because I saw a comment to this story about how Facebook is some sort of zionist plot, and when I went back to the story to reply to it, the comment was gone.

    • Noted (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HBI ( 604924 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @04:10PM (#55161317) Journal

      It's a bad change. In the past, nothing was deleted. Even under duress...I seem to remember Taco defying a C&D or two in the past.

      • It's a bad change.

        Now, my comment was based on exactly one instance of an ugly, anti-semitic comment by an Anonymous Coward disappearing. It might be some other sort of glitch. It was only notable because of the ugliness of the comment, which went into how Facebook is "run by (((Jews)))" and how (((Jews))) have a "secret agenda", blah blah.

        Could this be an example of some other kind of quality filter? Like the fact that the comment was repetitive about, you know, the (((Jews))).

        • by HBI ( 604924 )

          Yes, but you know the GNAA types are still doing their thing, and I have noted those comments disappearing too. I don't think this is an isolated incident.

          It would be completely possible to use something like "the Jews" in a context that wouldn't necessarily be an ugly comment. For instance: "Hitler and Stalin both killed the Jews for different reasons, but in comparable numbers." So any filtering mechanism would have to be fairly intelligent.

          • It would be completely possible to use something like "the Jews" in a context that wouldn't necessarily be an ugly comment.

            Maybe this new filter only affects ACs. I can almost understand that. I'd just as soon let all the racists and antisemites be, because if I want I can set my comments browsing to a higher threshold (although I don't like to do that). I prefer unfiltered discourse, but I can understand a site like Slashdot not wanting to become a home for white supremacists and nazis, like 4chan or Br

      • Interesting. This makes me wonder, have all the pro-Russia astroturfing trolls disappeared, or are they being filtered out?
    • I trust Facebook less for this.
    • If that is honestly the case, there is nothing left for me here. It is just another "news" website
  • Because Zuckerberg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @04:09PM (#55161311)

    He's a conniving asshole, and corporate culture is established at the top levels. Remember, he's referred to Facebook users as "dumb fucks".

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      They ARE dumb fucks. He's not an asshole. He's just doing exactly what he says he'll do: take everybody's information and sell them shit. The "users" are dumb fucks, who are actively giving away all of their information for just about no reason. It's a marketing platform that millions of people dump their personal data into. Them and Google. People who use Facebook and GMail and such are, indeed dumb fucks.
  • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @05:12PM (#55161645)

    It's not like they even pretended to promise to "Do No Evil".

    Their promise is to monetize your personal information as often as possible to maximize their profits.

    You can add *.facebook.com to your block lists...

  • They flat out do not respect the user. They will do whatever they feel is right, regardless of whether you want it or not. IN the end, i had to ask my wife to uninstall it from her phone because i honestly do not trust them to act ethically. Its gotten so bad, Google is resorting to annoying users on Android Oreo to force Facebook to change some its practices regarding how its apps run. (persistent notification that background apps are running)
  • "F" facebook. Too much stupid, drama, etc. As secure as a wet paper bag. Not on it, never will be.
  • Maybe we could tolerate the ads if Facebook would just give the full breakdown of who's sending ads our way, and the specific data being used to target those ads. "Facebook verified advertiser", of course, so we can decide who's a troll ourselves.

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