Growth At Any Cost

Top Facebook executive defended data collection, and warned that Facebook could get people killed:

So we connect more people. That can be bad if they make it negative. Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools. And still we connect people. [...]

That's why all the work we do in growth is justified. All the questionable contact importing practices. All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work we do to bring more communication in. The work we will likely have to do in China some day. All of it. [...]

We do have great products but we still wouldn't be half our size without pushing the envelope on growth. Nothing makes Facebook as valuable as having your friends on it, and no product decisions have gotten as many friends on as the ones made in growth. Not photo tagging. Not news feed. Not messenger. Nothing.

"Subtle language that helps people stay searchable" means "dark patterns that trick people into exposing data that they didn't want to."

This is your irregularly-scheduled reminder:

If you work for Facebook, quit.

It is morally indefensible for you to use your skills to make that company more powerful. By working there, you are making the world an objectively worse place. I'm sure you can find a job working for a company that you don't have to apologize for all the time.

You can do it. I believe in you.

If you aren't quite ready to delete your MySpace Facebook account, you might as well delete as much of your old data as you can. Social Book Post Manager is a Chrome extension that lets you delete your years-old posts and comments in bulk (since of course Facebook does not provide that option). It's flaky, and very slow, but mostly gets the job done.

It's a certainty that "deleting" a post doesn't actually delete it; Facebook likely stores every revision of every post, every draft, and maybe even every keystroke you've made while composing it. (Which is why poisoning your posts instead of deleting them is a waste of time.) But flagging it as deleted means that any apps you are exposed to in the future will no longer be able to read those posts. Unless they have super-secret internal access, which, you know, Cambridge Analytica probably did.)

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3 Responses:

  1. Rich says:

    It's a certainty that "deleting" a post doesn't actually delete it; Facebook likely stores every revision of every post, every draft, and maybe even every keystroke you've made while composing it.

    Worth adding that even if you never posted it, anything you entered into Facebook's text dialogs is logged, and will haunt you (usually by advertising).

  2. Robert says:

    Facebook has been an ethical and moral dumpster fire since 2003.

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