Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Pathetica

Michael Del Moro posts on Twitter a statement from a Facebook spokesperson:

Mark, Sheryl and their teams are working around the clock to get all the facts and take the appropriate action moving forward, because they understand the seriousness of this issue. The entire company is outraged we were deceived. […]

Mark Zuckerberg in a post on Facebook:

In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica. It is against our policies for developers to share data without people’s consent, so we immediately banned Kogan’s app from our platform, and demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data. They provided these certifications.

They did not disclose this at the time, nor did they notify the fifty million users whose information was accessed by Cambridge Analytica. So their claim in their press statement that they felt deceived is bunk: they knew, and did nothing when it mattered first.

Zuckerberg continues:

Last week, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to confirm this. We’re also working with regulators as they investigate what happened.

One other thing that Facebook immediately did after being notified of the forthcoming media reports is that they — and Cambridge Analytica — threatened to sue. Mike Masnick, Techdirt:

But, it’s raising a bigger question, as well, and it’s one that caused Facebook to do something that I’ll definitively call as “incredibly stupid,” which is that it threatened to sue the Guardian over its story, mainly because the Guardian story refers to this whole mess as a “data breach” for Facebook’s data.

Facebook instructed external lawyers and warned us we were making ‘false and defamatory’ allegations. Today they said it was not correct to call this a data breach. We are calling it a data breach. https://t.co/Q8wrw0FDyr

And, of course, Facebook wasn’t the only one who threatened to sue. Cambridge Analytica did too:

The Observer also received the first of three letters from Cambridge Analytica threatening to sue Guardian News and Media for defamation.

Facebook’s attitude so far is that this story has been a massive inconvenience to them, and they’d rather not think about it if that’s okay with everyone. But it isn’t okay. It’s an outrageous exploitation of data that Facebook’s business model has enabled, and they’re scared that users will figure that out.