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Facebook Businesses Communications Privacy Security Social Networks The Almighty Buck The Internet Apple

Steve Wozniak Drops Facebook: 'The Profits Are All Based On the User's Info' (arstechnica.com) 246

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has formally deactivated his Facebook account. In an email interview with USA Today, Wozniak wrote that he was no longer satisfied with Facebook, knowing that it makes money off of user data. "The profits are all based on the user's info, but the users get none of the profits back," he wrote. "Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you. As they say, with Facebook, you are the product." Ars Technica reports: His Sunday announcement to his Facebook followers came just ahead of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's scheduled testimony before Congress on Tuesday. The CEO is also reportedly set to meet with members of Congress privately on Monday. Wozniak wrote that Facebook had "brought me more negatives than positives." Still, when Wozniak tried to change some of his privacy settings in the aftermath of Cambridge Analytica, he said he was "surprised" to find out how many categories for ads he had to remove. "I did not feel that this is what people want done to them," added Wozniak. "Ads and spam are bad things these days and there are no controls over them. Or transparency."

Steve Wozniak Drops Facebook: 'The Profits Are All Based On the User's Info'

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  • Hey Steve (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 09, 2018 @04:41PM (#56408323)

    Welcome to 2007!

    • AOL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @05:16PM (#56408525)

      I figured Facebook would go the way of AOL eventually. But not this way.

      AOL suffered a long, painful, pathetic death. Looks like FaceBook will be put down pretty soon compared to AOL.

      • Re: AOL (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Thats sarcasm, right? Most people either dont know about the scandal or dont care.

      • Re: AOL (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 09, 2018 @05:43PM (#56408631)

        AOL failed because its core service was obsolete. FB sucks, and everyone here wants them to fall, but their core service is still valuable and relevant for a ton of people.

      • I figured Facebook would go the way of AOL eventually. But not this way.

        AOL suffered a long, painful, pathetic death. Looks like FaceBook will be put down pretty soon compared to AOL.

        Yay!

        Maybe it'll start a trend...

      • Looks like FaceBook will be put down pretty soon compared to AOL.

        You are in for a disapointment if you think people in general give a shit about the media whipping horse of the day. You can summarise all the negative news about Facebook with a quote by Shakespeare: it "struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

        #deletefacebookbutweknowmostpeoplewon't

        • You can summarise all the negative news about Facebook with a quote by Shakespeare: it "struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

          You can summarise the positive hype about Facebook with that too

          • That is both partially true and incredibly nihilist.
            Ultimately Facebook will end and signify nothing, but while it exists people make quite a lot of use of it. The negative hype is all about an end goal. The positive hype is about current usage, and the only relevant part of that Shakespeare quote as applied to positive hype is "hour upon the stage".

      • AOL was useful because of the services that ran on it. It died as those services moved elsewhere, gradually. Facebook is valuable because of the other people on Facebook. Each person who leaves slightly reduces the utility to everyone else. For each person, there is a threshold where Facebook's value drops significantly when they can only reach a certain subset of their friends via it. When that tipping point is reached, the person leaves and there's a chance that they'll push someone else across that
        • In typical conditions it's very resilient because of the nature of the service and its size.

          But because of the same reasons it can prove extremely fragile under a number of special circumstances that can trigger a downward spiral difficult to stop.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik... [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    My facebook page is under a ficticious name and I was born in 1901 and I work at Initech. Have fun scraping useful data from me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      One time I got an unsolicited Facebook IM to go chat on Skype (ie. sex cam) because "she" thought I looked so handsome. Except my Facebook photo is that of a cartoon character.

      That spam experience led me to make my privacy settings stricter since I don't want to be contacted by people I don't know. I have always used the strictest settings, though, but somehow they seem to loosen up over time. My guess is that Facebook introduces new/redesigned settings once in a while and defaults them to wide open.

    • My facebook page is under a ficticious name and I was born in 1901 and I work at Initech. Have fun scraping useful data from me.

      Roughly the same as me, plus I haven't used even the fake account in years. Can't say my life is enormously worse for missing all those vacation stories and cat videos.

      Anybody who has the facebook app on their phone should remove or disable it immediately (don't forget the force kill) unless of course you are ok with Zuck snooping your calls, texts, contacts, and who knows what else.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      All the people around that account and the way the account is used will fill in the reality.
    • It's astonishing how naive people are when they post things like this. That profile is associated with your browser's cookies and every web site that uses Facebook ads, Facebook-hosted scripts, or a Facebook-hosted button. It is associated with the IP addresses where you log in most often and the associated GeoIP information. It is associated with all of the contacts that have exchanged messages with you. It is fed by any Facebook messages where people address you by name or wish you happy birthday. It

  • Um ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @04:43PM (#56408337)

    Wozniak wrote that he was no longer satisfied with Facebook, knowing that it makes money off of user data.

    Are you just figuring that out Steve or were you once okay with that arrangement and have since soured on it?

    • Damn; good question.
    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      Is he also going to stop using Google and Bing and any other search engine which isn't funded with a paid subscription?

    • Re:Um ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @05:41PM (#56408619) Journal

      Wozniak wrote that he was no longer satisfied with Facebook, knowing that it makes money off of user data.

      Are you just figuring that out Steve or were you once okay with that arrangement and have since soured on it?

      You think he's sour now, wait till all the celebrities and newscorps figure out that they have even less influence than they thought when people ignore their hysterical cries and continue using facebook.

      The MSM got taught just how little influence they had during the 2016 election when their darling didn't get voted into office. This is payback for that. They want to show facebook who's really the boss by flooding the news with how evil facebook is.

      My money is on facebook in this fight. Hell, I don't even like facebook, and refuse to use them, but I still think that the MSM is mad if they think that facebook users care more about MSM than they do about facebook.

      • I don't know where you're from, but in my town the MSM love your Mr. Trump.
        No-one gets them clicks and views quite like the slightly odd bloke you elected.
      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        Huh? MSM gave Trump billions in free coverage, leading him to be elected, because it was good for business, generating clicks and page views like crazy. They don't care about things like the good of the country, just making money. MSM know how to make sure someone doesn't get elected, ignore them. Think Ron Paul the other election and MSM media reporting 1st, 2nd and 4th places in the primary when Ron Paul came in third.
        Probably helped that there may have been promises made like getting rid of that pesky ne

      • You think he's sour now, wait till all the celebrities and newscorps figure out that they have even less influence than they thought when people ignore their hysterical cries and continue using facebook.

        It would help if they weren't hypocrites. How many news articles have you seen telling everyone how bad Facebook is with a 'share on Facebook' link right at the top or bottom? Even the Mozilla announcement of a plugin to sandbox Facebook had one of these buttons.

    • I suspect he's just now figuring it out. He doesn't seem to be very tech-savvy these days which is kind of ironic. He fell for a simple credit card scam back in February. Apparently didn't know about chargebacks.
      • Not tech savvy? You have a strange concept of what qualifies as tech knowledge and ability. This is a guy that can literally design and build complex electronic from scratch. He can/has written firmware and software for said systems. Being aware of some scam has nothing to do with tech savvy.

        • The definitions have changed. In my nerd career, I've designed and built complex electronics, have years working on ASICs, CPUs for major corporations, worked on satellites, particle accelerators and deep space probes. But I'm not a gamer (but did work on ASICs for a mainstream console), don't know (much less care) how to fb and have not seen a comic book movie since The Matrix and this pretty much disqualifies me as being a modern day nerd or being tech savvy. The hordes have won.
      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        He did get a pretty good knock on the head in that plane crash, and never seemed the same.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        His argument in TFA is actually a bit more nuanced than the summary. His issue seems not to be so much the use of personal data, but the fact that the user doesn't get to share in the profit. Apparently the service that Facebook provides isn't valuable enough to justify it.

        Interesting capitalist take on the whole debacle. Personal data as a commodity like any other, and the problem is Facebook undervaluing it rather than the dire consequences to individuals and democratic societies.

    • Are you just figuring that out Steve or were you once okay with that arrangement and have since soured on it?

      Never underestimate the power of a good bandwagon.

  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by YuppieScum ( 1096 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @04:45PM (#56408339) Journal
    I've been a fan of Woz's ever since I bought my first Apple ][, but, really? Only now are you realising that FB makes its money from your data?

    For a super-bright guy, he seems a bit slow on the up-take...
  • Ob (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @04:46PM (#56408345) Homepage Journal

    Did he announce this via twitter?

    • That is all.

      Hmmm . . . the subjec saidt: "Old man yells at cloud (data)"

      The cloud answers:

      "My time . . . is yours . . . "

      Unfortunately, everyone here is too young to get that joke . . .

      "You are a true believer. Blessings of the state, blessings of the masses. Thou art a subject of the divine. Created in the image of man, by the masses, for the masses. Let us be thankful we have an occupation to fill. Work hard; increase production, prevent accidents, and be happy. [or] Let us be thankful we have commerce. Buy mor

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @04:50PM (#56408365)

    is this the same click-bait article I saw posted on Reddit [reddit.com] where it was titled Woz "leaving Facebook" (like he was an employee there), only to have the article explain they meant closing his account, and then at the end of the article reveal he didn't even delete the profile in the end, because he didn't want someone else taking his username?

  • by nwaack ( 3482871 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @04:50PM (#56408373)
    First he was going to use "courage" as the reason for dropping his account but...oh...wait...
  • Facebook sells data. That's how it makes money. That's their business. Facebook gives people an easy way to blog and then they monetize the shit out of your data.

    Did people think Facebook did this out of the goodness of their hearts?

  • by imperious_rex ( 845595 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @04:58PM (#56408441)
    Dropping Facebook because you've *finally* clued in to their business model and it bothers you, or being just another grandstander whose virtue signalling his moral indignation with Facebook. Either way, you've just shot yourself in the foot. As the old saying goes: it's better to remain silent and have others think you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
  • Payment in Kind (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Marc_Hawke ( 130338 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @04:58PM (#56408443)

    The Facebook users don't get financial compensation, but they do get value from the service that Facebook provides.

    I wonder though, is Google in a different category? Is it fine to make all your money off of advertising, which is selling your users' eyeballs? If Facebook had ads on every page, would it still count as 'the users being the product?' Oh wait, it says in the Summary that he doesn't like ads or spam. (Not a Facebook user...didn't know how many ads were there.)

    So that means Google is exactly the same? They provide a free service, (or dozens of free services) as they sell your eyeballs and clicks to various advertisers. Is he dropping Google as well? Or are Google services worth it while Facebook isn't?

  • by cdsparrow ( 658739 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @05:03PM (#56408465)

    What I'd really like to know is how much of the ghost profile they have built on me was made available through these wonderful API's? I would hope they mostly use that internally, but really what is the hope that's true?

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt.nerdflat@com> on Monday April 09, 2018 @05:04PM (#56408469) Journal

    For all of its faults, facebook has merit in being an all-in-one solution for keeping in touch with people you know and following people and groups that serve particular interests.

    Of course one alternative is to go outside and meet real people, but the point of using facebook was, at least in my view, to connect with people that you wouldn't otherwise ever meet in real life. As people who I have genuine interests in are leaving facebook, I see no obvious alternative to it anywhere on the horizon.

    So.... serious question. Deactivate facebook and go where, exactly?

    • by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @05:09PM (#56408501)

      So.... serious question. Deactivate facebook and go where, exactly?

      ... outside and meet real people

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )

        Yeah, because, you know.... I can just afford to go anywhere I want to in the world to meet anyone I want to talk to.

        And of course, that's not considering how hard it can be to find people with similar interests when they aren't mainstream or part of pop culture.

      • ... outside and meet real people

        Thanks for the braindead / troll response. But here's some real info for you:

        The world is bigger than your front doorstep. Going outside is not a substitute for communicating and staying in touch with people on the other side of the world. But even just outside my door. What will I do? I have an idea. *Logs into Facebook*, hey look at that there's a beer festival down the street tomorrow listed in "Events near me." Thanks Facebook.

        • You act as if Facebook is the entirety of the internet. Didn't AOL try that shit?
          • You act as if Facebook is the entirety of the internet. Didn't AOL try that shit?

            I'm interested in exactly what point you're trying to make given I remember a world where the only advertisement to anyone's online presence was AOL keywords rather than URLs.

            Same problem. And yes in some cases Facebook IS the entire internet. E.g. the local underground music scene advertises on Facebook, and that's about it. My local Japanese / Korean restaurant doesn't have a website, it does have a Facebook business listing which is also the only place they advertise their weekly specials.

    • I don't have a FB account and get along just fine without it. However, I do see the value in having a social networking platform for friends and family. Since I already pay for hosting of a couple sites already, I'm thinking of rolling my own little social network site. It wouldn't cost me anything except for a domain name and the software is free (Open Source Social Network or BuddyPress).
      • It wouldn't cost me anything

        And the time wasted. The key part about a social network is the social part. No one uses Facebook because it's good, they use it because the other people use it.

        As for the getting on just fine business, that depends on what you do. My local underground music scene has pretty much moved entirely onto Facebook these days. They even stopped goeying up posters and putting them on walls. I don't use Facebook much, but when I do it's to send a message or two to my parents and to look up the events section.

    • Well the thing is, what is the value of the 'relationships' you create or maintain on facebook? More than likely, it's approaching 0. Trading 'likes' on what you ate for breakfast, or that killer workout you didn't actually do?

      The one use I can see for it is keeping up on extended family; but again, there's other solutions that are less invasive (like.. email) -- BUT getting non-tech savvy people to participate would be a struggle.

      99% of what I see on facebook could be replaced by imgur/r/dawww or just go

      • I tend to agree. What's the point in interacting with people online if you don't actually spend time with them in real life? Why spend _any_ time doing that when you can spend it face-to-face with someone else?

        I work at a computer all day long. The last thing I want to do in my down time is sit in front of a computer unless I'm working on a side-project. IMHO something like Google Hangouts is a much better way to communicate with the people I care about.

      • Trading 'likes' on what you ate for breakfast, or that killer workout you didn't actually do?

        What you think people do on Facebook and what most people actually do seems to be very different. Not everyone is a 14 year old teenage girl.

        there's other solutions that are less invasive (like.. email)

        No. Just No. Email is not an alternative to keeping in contact with an extended group on a social media platform. If it were, then people wouldn't have started using Facebook in the first place. Email is an alternative to Facebook Messenger, but beyond that (and the horrible limits of email sizes) there are fundamentally different communications mediums with fundamenta

        • And that’s when Facebook needs to start worrying: not when a few or a lot of disgruntled users leave FB, nor when big companies like Tesla want to make a statement by leaving, but when the local event organisers and businesses start to leave. Because that’s what seems to keep everyone around.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      email and IM. The internet existed before social media. The internet will do just fine after ads supporting social media.
      Chatrooms and forums. That is what kept the internet going. Services that only worked on what they offered.
      Services that did not track and sell the users use of the internet.
      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        Both of which require that you have already met the person to exchange contact information. You can't use email or phone to find or follow people with similar interests to your own unless you already know them.
        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          That worked fine in chatrooms and forums well before social media. IRC, usenet, forums, websites had global use before ad supported social media.
      • Yeah, something like discord could easily replace what facebook does. Then you just need a web page indexing interesting discord rooms. Sure, not quite as clean as what facebook does, but much preferable to wholesale info rapage. Of course, the data scrapers would then just scrape the discord rooms and the like.

        Probably no way to have open conversations that won't get mined at this point. But life is all about the ratio of convenience vs security. Credit cards are convenient, but not as safe as cash.

    • For all of its faults, facebook has merit in being an all-in-one solution for keeping in touch with people you know and following people and groups that serve particular interests.

      Which is wonder why someone else didn't copy it. The value is connecting acquaintances and sharing a newsfeed, how hard can that be? And since half the world is already looking for an alternative any prospective competitor would have hundreds of millions of customers from day one.

      So.... serious question. Deactivate facebook and go where, exactly?

      I deleted my account a couple of years ago and didn't miss it. I'm old enough that most of the shit on there is irrelevant to me anyway,and for contacts, email still works (along with Skype/Viber or other Chat service) As above I'm

    • Are your needs worth destroying democracy in many places in the world ? Are they worth concentrating power over the multitudes in a few people ?

  • Sure, it was a surprise to Steve. Not because now the whole "we care about your data" is gathering momentum, and companies left and right jump on it, pretending to be nice, to get publicity brownie points. What's next, google execs deactivating facebook accounts and claiming to care about our data/privacy?. Mind you, the faster FB falls, the better.
  • Everyone knew Facebook was selling User Data, that was never up for debate.
    • Yes, but that was before the data being sold was connected to the Trump campaign. Facebook can conduct experiments on manipulating user's moods, but the line has to be drawn here.

      It was perhaps out of Zuckerberg's greed did he fail to realize that not sufficiently acting as a team player would cost him, unlike Eric Schmidt who clearly demonstrated his loyalty. [wsj.com]

      • That's the bit that surprised me. Facebook has been using private data for ages, and if one is stupid enough to use the app instead of web, it even explicitly asks for permissions to look at contacts, photos, and on and on. People willingly agreed to that and NOW they're upset at the gathering and use of private data? What the hell did they think was going to happen?

        I think Trump is a corrupt buffoon, but I seen nothing out of the ordinary in his campaign's use of FB data. FB openly assisted Obama's cam

      • You honestly thought it was being handled responsibly? There's a reason you never use real information on a social media account, ever.
  • Apple is behind in the AI race, and wants FB's engineers. That's the puzzle piece that makes this coordinated (and incredulous) attack by Woz & Cook make sense.
  • If Woz if claiming that Apple isn't making it's money off of you, he is confused about how walled gardens work. Facebook collects users' data, walls it off, and sells access. Apple collects users, walls them off, and sells access.

    There is a difference there, in that a person can choose to forgo anything that they've invested in Apple products and leave. Facebook allows you no such option to leave. So I'm not claiming that the two are equivalent, but you are still the product in Apple's model.
  • ... anytime you like, but you can never leave.

  • News Flash!

    Selling your name, address, phone, answers to survey questions and such were standard operating procedures for magazines and other membership organizations for centuries. Yes, literally.

    You didn't really think your paltry magazine subscription price paid for the magazine did you? Even the ads weren't enough. Magazines have traditionally made money by selling your information. This is exactly what Facebook does - but FB does it far better.

    You're not paying for the service in cash so you pay anothe

  • Facebook business model has been obvious fore years, how could it take so long to realize?
  • WE KNEW THIS FOR NEARLY A DECADE.

    You either don't really care and just keep using it, being selective with what you put on there, OR you ditch it.

    This sudden revelation is hardly new. I'm not even being an elitist nerd "oh how passe *WE* knew all along" it's common knowledge, it's been in the paper before, multiple times, we KNOW this, everyone knows this, christ there's 2 movies about the site for goodness sakes.

    This sudden revelation is insane, fad, metoo, zeitgeist bullshit.

    I'm not closing my account,

  • I call BS. Facebook sells a fortune in ads. Every 5th item you see while scrolling is a "sponsored" post (aka Advertisement). They fetch between $7 and $10 CPM just to promote a page (that is paying to promote a *page* that is already part of their system). Maybe they make some additional profit selling "user data", but you'd better believe most of the profit is directly from ads.

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