Facebook is going to redefine privacy (yeah, right)

Mark Zuckerberg writes that after a 15-year period of reflection, Facebook has come up with a new vision for social networks based on privacy. My reaction can be seen above using Facebook’s iconography: hilarity followed by anger.

There are limits. When the person who runs the company that worked hand in hand with Cambridge Analytica (not a bug but a feature) tells me he’s suddenly had an epiphany and from now on is going to put my privacy above all other considerations, my only reaction is to feel insulted. The same Mark Zuckerberg, the same Facebook, without changing its business model, now wants us to believe that it has seen the error of its ways and will now presumably stop lobbying against global data privacy laws.

For years, Facebook has spied on us and shared every last scrap of our information, our preferences, our telephone numbers and contacts with any and everybody who asked for it, sometimes for free. Facebook has shared that information with its advertisers as part of a business model that has allowed it to continue making a profit despite one scandal after another, because it is now the perfect weapon for unscrupulous marketers. Facebook has shared our information with partners of all kinds, cutting secret deals, while on several occasions that information has been stolen. It has been malicious, hypocritical, mendacious and irresponsible, behaving like a digital gangster, while defending its methods at any cost. Zuckerberg admits that, “frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services…” That’s a masterpiece of understatement. As things stand, the best thing Facebook could do is prepare itself to face a barrage of well-deserved fines for violating every known privacy law under the sun.

Instead, in a bid to get permission to merge its platforms, a move that will protect our privacy and offer us “places to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room.” Zuckerberg expects us to believe that, even though his business model remains exploiting our privacy to micro-segment as if there were no tomorrow, exposing us to even more advertising and propaganda by God-knows who in a bid to control what we read or how we vote, but that instead Facebook is going to behave and will no longer scrutinize our communication, which will now be private. This time it’s for real; I’ve seen the light: that was then, this is now…

It’s an insult to the intelligence. A bad joke. It’s no longer about encryption, it’s about attitude. Zuckerberg’s “experiment” has cost society dearly. I’m sorry, but I for one have no intention of having anything to do with the next one.

(En español, aquí)