We humans have a short memory quite often. In fact, that’s usually an incredibly effective defense mechanism. Would you imagine how we would be without it? To remember all the things that bothered and affected us recently and throughout the years? That would be a perpetual nightmare. But, at the same time, our short memory is what permits various individuals and entities to have the confidence they can push the boundaries further than we would accept if we wouldn’t forget what they did in the past. Every once in a while it’s interesting to follow up with the aftermath of a scandal. It wasn’t so long ago since the outrage of data-selling and then use outside the expected advertising purposes started for Facebook. Then Mark Zuckerberg did his part at the hearings and the whole thing began to fade away. To be honest, it quite slipped my mind too, being preoccupied with more important and personal projects for me, so I understand if you forgot about it. But why do I bring the subject up again? I probably wouldn’t have, but the quarterly report came for Facebook this week. Would you like to guess how they were, scandal, closed accounts and all? Well, the idea is first quarter results were higher for both earnings and total number of users, but… Q1 ends on March 31st, and Cambridge Analytica data-selling scandal first broke during March, which means it most likely didn’t have time to affect first quarter results. Ok, I’m not going to turn this into a financial blog. What I remarked was that immediately after the report was made public, Facebook shares jumped by over 8%. So, everything is ok now? Forgotten and things can move on as if nothing had happened? Great! Nice show then. When will Hollywood make […]
The ball was dropped by Facebook (or more exactly by one of their clients) when it comes to huge privacy issues which resulted in the data-selling scandal we all know now. If the ball would still be in play, the practices would continue, and everyone would carry on with their happy or not so happy lives. Tell me if I’m wrong! The reality is EVERY company (ok, let’s leave room for exceptions: MOST companies) which have large databases of user information and their preferences or habits, are at some point tempted to use data-selling to increase their profit margins. Facebook is definitely not alone in this practice, but their extensive information about users’ behavior, background, relationships, likes and dislikes, make their data very valuable to customers (and we’ve seen what it can be used for) and the privacy breach even more intrusive for their users. I understood a long time ago exposing intimate aspects of my life to one company or another (or the government for that matter) is not something I want to do. I also saw the increasing manipulation power of such platforms. I only had one personal social media account, and that was on Facebook and stopped using it for years. A few days ago I deleted it entirely, after all it served no purpose. The data-selling scandal may not yet be over. On April 10th, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey, the CEOs of the giants Facebook, Google (Alphabet), and Twitter are formally invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Despite the huge scandal, I don’t feel something significant will change unfortunately. The incident will be forgotten in time. And the power at the disposal of these giants will continue to grow.
Over the years, I created a number of desktop applications for Windows to automate the generation of documents, statistics, testcase outputs and other types of reports, which otherwise would have been written completely or partially by a person (or more). So I know a thing or two about automation and automating processes. Automation obviously aims to save time, minimize errors and streamline the process, usually cutting out or reducing the human factor. On the other hand, in my work, all those generated reports and documents were and are of an impersonal nature, it doesn’t matter if I write them, or the next guy, they all should look the same. They are based on raw data and templates, and personal contribution isn’t necessary or desirable. Lately, with the development of the social media and other online community-oriented platforms, I see an abundance of tools “helping” us automate our accounts. Posting for us using our id (with permission). While I understand this also saves us time, where are “we” in this equation? We have already accepted and got sucked into a vortex of virtual world, over the direct human interaction and experiencing the world around us. We love our avatars, and count our followers, shares and likes. But social media, chat rooms, forums and other types of online communities should be socially driven. If a program posts for us on our personal account, how are we part of a community? Sure, if the program posts as itself, with it’s own clearly separated identity, I’m all for it. Otherwise we should as well lose the “social” component of these platforms and transform them into something different. We actually sometimes act completely out of character ourselves. We want our social media accounts to be popular, we may even feel like we need to. So […]