On Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: big deal or storm in a cup?
Casualty toll is on the rise. Facebook “will warn 87 million users, mostly in the U.S., that their data may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica” (cf. Josh Constine’s and Taylor Hatmaker’s article on TechCrunch).
Of course, the business model of companies like Facebook is based on personal data collection and processing. Of course, what is anomalous (not to say freakish) here is that the data of said 87 million users were accessed through a complex and, at the time, unexpected path thanks to exceedingly lax policies. What is more, albeit vehemently denied by the company, such data might have been exploited to “optimize political campaigns”.
But demonizing tech companies will take us nowhere. On a related note, deleting one’s own account, however empowering it can feel, is pretty much useless, since the world we live in is a connected one and the more we progress into future the more we trade old-fashioned, face-to-face social interactions for complex paths through the human-machine noosphere. Leakage of personal data is the equivalent of body fluid spill in the animal kingdom.
On the other hand, it is more and more important for everybody to acquire a basic awareness of the many interests which underlie the digital revolution, as well as a basic literacy in the tools we can leverage in order to claim the right to our privacy (which ultimately amounts to our identity) and the right to choose exactly what we want to share, with whom, for how long, and how.
Originally published at www.facebook.com.