Facebook – The Necessary Evil…

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I received this notification in my timeline today regarding Facebook’s facial recognition technology and was deeply concerned!

Facebook, you’re starting to play the hand of god and freak the hell out of people!!

While the concept of facial recognition isn’t something new, this is a technology that needs to be approached with caution as we hand over personal and sensitive bio-metric data to private and ‘profit seeking’ businesses, who sell us the fantasy of a safer online experience, while making billions in the process and owning your digital footprint.

Slightly off topic here….Perhaps the most scary, confronting and downright concerning issue is how Apple’s iOS software on the iPhone ‘scans all your images and then creates folders of people based off facial recognition ’. I never recall agreeing to such a technology to be used and consider this a violation of privacy, however I’m sure they sneakily buried it somewhere in fine-print during a software update, not to mention deliberately slowing down the phone in the process!
Anyways, back to Facebook!

With the latest facial recognition notice I received, how wonderful it is that Facebook can now “help” and “protect” us from strangers who use our photo’s and great to see they’re helping the visually impaired!? You’re already trawling our data, so what difference does it make if this setting is on or off?!

If anything, we (the people) need “protection” from Facebook’s draconian and totalitarian data collection and profiling policies! The brilliant author, George Orwell would be laughing from the heavens above, as his concept of ‘Big Brother’ watching our every move has come true!

Oh yeah, remember the time Facebook knowingly altered the algorithm of news feeds to manipulate (700,000) people’s emotions without telling them?! Who “helped and protected” those innocent people?

I use Facebook purely for my businesses and as a marketing platform. I don’t have a personal Facebook account, yet it’s needed to create a business page, hence the necessary evil! So I essentially have a ‘fake’ personal Facebook page with no friends, which I use to link the business accounts to.
The ‘suggestions of people you may know’ on Facebook and Instagram (owned by Facebook, as well as messaging platform, Whatsapp) is something more terrifying than the scariest of movies! Some of these suggestions have literally forced me to stop and think how the hell they could have known this, especially when some of these people I crossed paths with years before I ever had a Facebook account. Friends of the distant past whose number I deleted from my phone years prior appeared, girls I had been on dates with, contacts I had added on LinkedIn, places I had travelled, restaurants I had visited.
It really is quite terrifying not only how much they knew, but who!

Recently, I was stunned to learn of some very alarming patented technologies Facebook own!

They own a patent to identify what social class people reside in, based on the features used, interactions and people they’re friends with. All this supposedly intended to help ‘third parties’ with advertising preferences. Hmmmm!!

They also have a patent that can help lenders discriminate against certain borrowers based on the borrower’s social network connections.

“When an individual applies for a loan, the lender examines the credit ratings of members of the individual’s social network who are connected to the individual through authorized nodes. If the average credit rating of these members is at least a minimum credit score, the lender continues to process the loan application. Otherwise, the loan application is rejected”

The way I view this is sort of like an addiction! An addictive substance has been supplied, a dependency created, a supporting eco system has been built that relies and feeds this dependency, and then people are sold the illusion this substance is free, however the sacrifice comes with the price of privacy being sold to money hungry suppliers. Sound familiar?!

Rule number one of this industry – never get high on your own supply.

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Interestingly and somewhat very contradictory, Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has openly stated that he won’t let his own daughter use the social media platform until she’s 13, because he wants to be a good role model. 

On the flip side, a few weeks ago, Facebook announced the launch of ‘Messenger Kids’, “a standalone app that allows kids age 13 and under to use the service under the supervision of a parent”. The article linked below perfectly sums this up with the addiction analogy I provided above; “It’s a “safe space” for kids without advertising. Except, of course, that the whole service is an advertisement for Facebook. They’re hooking them young”.

As I pause and reflect on this article, I refer to the words of Steve Liebmann during the TV campaign of the early 2000’s;

Be alert, but not alarmed”

Would love to hear your feedback and comments 🙂

Anthony 🙂

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