Guardian op-ed: ‘No one can pretend Facebook is just harmless fun any more’

by WorldTribune Staff, March 20, 2018

Facebook is the “real bad guy” in the Cambridge Analytica story about big data’s role in the election of Donald Trump, Britain’s The Guardian said in an op-ed.

President Barack Obama with Mark Zuckerberg at Stanford University in 2016. / Bloomberg via Getty Images

The op-ed said that “Cambridge Analytica shouldn’t act as a diversion from the real bad guy in this story: Facebook. It is mystifying that as his company regulates the flow of information to billions of human beings, encouraging certain purchasing habits and opinions, and monitoring people’s interactions, Mark Zuckerberg is invited to give lectures at Harvard without being treated with due skepticism.

“We have now reached the point where an unaccountable private corporation is holding detailed data on over a quarter of the world’s population. Zuckerberg and his company have been avoiding responsibility for some time. Governments everywhere need to get serious in how they deal with Facebook.”

Related: Big data or the Russians? British firm may have played key role in Trump’s victory, March 18, 2018

The op-ed, titled “No One Can Pretend Facebook is Just Harmless Fun Any More”, concludes by calling for regulation of Facebook:

“If ExxonMobil attempted to insert itself into every element of our lives like this, there might be a concerted grassroots movement to curb its influence. So perhaps it’s time to start treating Facebook as the giant multinational corporation it is – especially because people with Facebook profiles aren’t the company’s customers: they are the product it sells to advertisers.”

Radio host Rush Limbaugh agreed that “Facebook is not a victim here, and Cambridge Analytica is by no means the only entity which has used Facebook’s own data collection. Facebook collects the data. Cambridge Analytica is like any other outfit that found a way to access it, and it’s not illegal.”

Limbaugh noted that “And all this time there’s no mention of the fact that Google had a satellite office in the White House. Google, the kings of data collection, Google, the kings of harvesting everybody’s personal data to use in advertising and who knows whatever else, practically had a White House relationship with Barack Hussein O, and nobody has a problem with that.”

Limbaugh cited a June 20, 2013 article in New York Times Magazine titled “Data You Can Believe In – The Obama Campaign’s Digital Masterminds Cash In”, saying the article praises “to the hilt all of these geniuses learning to manipulate and use the data collected by Google and Facebook to advance Obama’s interests.

“So back then five years ago all this stuff was really cool! And the New York Times could not have been happier. But now that Trump figured out how to do it and outsmart even Obama and the Democrats and all of a sudden there may be a crime going on here?”

Limbaugh added: “But, folks, the bottom line is, it isn’t any big deal because it’s nothing unique. The Democrats have perfected using the personal data stored by Internet companies for I don’t know how long. And Google leads the league in it, and they’re in bed with the Democrats and always have been. Facebook is number two. They’re in bed with the Democrats.

“There’s nothing new here. Cambridge Analytica didn’t do anything illegal. Facebook is not a victim; they are a participant. Facebook was not hacked. They were simply used, and they knew this was going on.”


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