Then Why Is Anyone STILL on Facebook?

Where’s the panicked rush to “delete” accounts?

Things at Facebook came to a head, following the disclosure that personal data from 50 million of its users had been given to a sordid outfit in the UK, Cambridge Analytica, whose business model is to manipulate elections by hook or crook around the world, and which is now getting vivisected by UK and US authorities.

The infamous “person familiar with the matter” told Bloomberg that the Federal Trade Commission has opened an investigation into whether Facebook violated a consent decree dating back to 2011, when Facebook settled similar allegations – giving user data to third parties without user’s knowledge or consent. Bloomberg:

Under the 2011 settlement, Facebook agreed to get user consent for certain changes to privacy settings as part of a settlement of federal charges that it deceived consumers and forced them to share more personal information than they intended. That complaint arose after the company changed some user settings without notifying its customers, according to an FTC statement at the time.

If Facebook is found to be in violation of the consent decree, the FTC can extract a fine of $40,000 per day, per violation. Given the 50 million victims spread over so many days, this could be some real money, so to speak.

Facebook said in a statement, cited by Bloomberg, that it rejected “any suggestion of violation of the consent decree.” It also said with tone-deaf Facebook hilarity, “Privacy and data protections are fundamental to every decision we make.”

That Facebook is collecting every little bit of personal data it can from its users and their contacts and how they react to certain things, their preferences, their choices, physical appearance – photos, I mean come on  – clues about their personalities, and the like has been known from day one. That’s part of its business model. It’s not a secret.

That third parties have access to this data has also been known at least since 2011. Advertisers also have had access to certain types of data to target their ads.

And yet, Facebook’s user base has grown. More than ever, people put their entire lives on Facebook – maybe not the kids, as they’ve become enamored with other platforms, but their moms. Babies are on Facebook long before they have any idea what Facebook is. There’s a generation growing up that has been on Facebook since birth.

When the Equifax hack occurred last year – which Equifax disclosed graciously and partially months after the fact on September 7 – the personal data of what has now grown to 145.5 million consumers was stolen. This included names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses, and “in some instances,” driver’s license numbers, and other data.

This shocked the world that pays attention to this because the data breach could unleash a tsunami of identity theft. But most consumers who saw it in the media simply shrugged and went on. They could have put a credit freeze on their accounts with the credit bureaus, thus making it nearly impossible for someone else to get a loan or credit card in their name (identity theft). But few consumers put a credit freeze on their accounts. Many consumers still don’t know what Equifax is or what it does, and when you discuss the situation, they think you’re spouting off conspiracy theories.

But there is a difference between credit bureaus such as Equifax and social media platforms such as Facebook.

With credit bureaus, consumers have no choice. They’re forced to be part of the credit-bureau data bases. Their data is collected, and there is nothing they can do about it. Consumer protection should be the number one priority. When companies get hacked and this consumer data gets stolen, there should be harsh punishments against these companies if they’re found to have been negligent. Arthur Andersen comes to mind.

But with Facebook and other social media platforms, there is no coercion. Consumers submit their most private data voluntarily – nay, eagerly. They jump through hoops to share this stuff with the rest of the world. Some users, concerned about their internet privacy, use a VPN ( to conceal their browsing activity, and with impeccable irony are also active on Facebook. So maybe they only want to share it with x and not with y, but heck, they’re uploading it to the Internet. What do they expect?

And there is another difference between Equifax and Facebook: Equifax was hacked and the data was stolen. Facebook gave away the data as part of its business model.

But they do have a major trait in common: An aggrieved consumer cannot delete the data these outfits have collected on that consumer. While Facebook allows you to “delete” items and “delete” your account, the data stays behind on the server. It’s available for all purposes; it’s just not publicly viewable.

So now there’s a hue and cry in the media about Facebook, put together by reporters who are still active on Facebook and who have no intention of quitting Facebook. There has been no panicked rush to “delete” accounts. There has been no massive movement to quit Facebook forever. Facebook does what it does because it does it, and because it’s so powerful that it can do it. A whole ecosystem around it depends on the consumer data it collects.

Yes, there will be the usual ceremonies that Equifax also went through: CEO Zuckerberg may get to address the Judiciary Committee in Congress. The questions thrown at him for public consumption will be pointed. But behind the scenes, away from the cameras, there will be the usual backslapping between lawmakers and corporations. Publicly, there will be some wrist-slapping and some lawsuits, and all this will be settled and squared away in due time. Life will go on. Facebook will continue to collect the data because consumers continue to surrender their data to Facebook voluntarily. And third parties will continue to have access to this data.

With Facebook, consumers are in total control: They can just refuse to open an account. And if they have already opened an account, they can delete the app on their mobile devices, clean the cache on their computers, and swear to not ever again sign back in. If enough consumers do that, the whole construct would come down.

The only act that would change anything is if consumers massively and forever abandon Facebook and platforms like it, and never-ever sign on again. That would bulldoze the whole problem away. But that’s not going to happen because consumers don’t want it to happen.

So as far as I’m concerned, people who are still active on Facebook cannot be helped. They should just enjoy the benefits of having their lives exposed to the world and serving as a worthy tool and resource for corporate interests, political shenanigans, election manipulators, jealous exes, and other facts of life.

Meanwhile, these dang trillions are flying by so fast, they’re hard to see. Read…  US Gross National Debt Spikes $1.2 Trillion in 6 Months, Hits $21 Trillion

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:

Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.

  174 comments for “Then Why Is Anyone STILL on Facebook?

  1. RobD says:

    As is ALWAYS the case, ignorance and apathy stand in the way. People don’t comprehend the fact that Internet is a jungle full of predators. It is very difficult to educate them, unfortunately.

    • Drater says:

      A society of muppets…mission accomplished

      • James Levy says:

        Too harsh by half: a nation of harried individuals who desperately want to make contact with other people but find it difficult to manage physically and psychologically. In a precarious world driven by consumer capitalism, where else are most people going to find companionship and validation?

        • Kelly says:

          Agreed. FB is a literal lifesaver for my recently-widowed 79-year-old mother who lives 2,000 miles from me and my family. The connection she and millions of others are able to maintain with far flung relatives has a very real and immediate value and shouldn’t be dismissed as extraneous or unnecessary.

        • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

          Everyone’s got their face stuck in their smartphone … phone zombies.

          I got a smart phone about a week ago. That was a week of hell. The thing would hang up when an incoming or outgoing call connected. I managed to get one photo from the phone onto my computer and then that stopped working, too. I could text. That was it. So I had an expensive “texter” not a phone. When my boss tried to call me and I could not for the life of me answer the call (and it’d have hung up anyway) I texted him: “I’ll fix this today”. I went to the phone store and got my old flip phone back, got my account switched back to it.

          I realized all I wanted to be able to do was call and text, and while a camera would be nice too, I can get a Canon Elph for $100 or so and carry that. I went to YouTube and watched some videos on texting on a flip phone and I can do that now. Not easy, but I can text and I get the low monthly bill, insanely long battery life compared to a smart phone, and there’s the retro-cool factor too.

          The thing with smart phones is, they’re pretty powerful computers and so all kinds of apps can be put on, and it appears to be really easy to get all wound up in things like Facebook, not to mention listening to music on the things, games like Flappy Birds, videos, movies, etc.

          I never got into Facebook or LinkdIn and I’m glad I never did.

        • Robert says:

          You said, ¨In a precarious world driven by consumer capitalism, where else are most people going to find companionship and validation?¨

          We, my partner and I are on ZERO social media platforms. (I have been reminded that I post here on Wstreet, but only Wolf here knows my real name, and it is so common that he does not really know me at all.)

          So my partner and I ARE ON ZERO SOCIAL media and we have ¨companionship and validation¨ .

          However, everyone in my family — below the age of 40, so far as I know — is on such as FB , Twitter and things like SnapChat that I understand not.

          Go out, meet a friend at the local Coffeehouse or Beer Emporium. Visit the old folks too, they are certainly lonely.

        • intosh says:

          I don’t think people should be surprised. It’s the fast-food of social. Instant flaunting for others to see, instant praises from others, instant envy of others, instant satisfaction of curiosity/voyeurism, instant feeling of belonging and acceptance. Instant gratification has been central to our modern economies and culture. This is a natural evolution of this trend.

        • Alistair McLaughlin says:

          Kelly, you’ve just identified both edges of the sword as far as Facebook is concerned. On the one hand, it does allow us to stay in touch with those with whom we’d otherwise lose contact. On the other hand, it can become a crutch for the already socially isolated or lonely, and actually replace other forms of socializing and human contact.

          My mother-in-law practically lives on Facebook. Her widowed sister did the same before she died a few years ago. I had to block both of their feeds just to stop the steady flow of boring, inane or nonsensical posts emanating from both their accounts. I only check my FB once per week, and until I blocked them it was a full on blast of stupid posts from both of them. MiL’s feed remains blocked to this day. (In fairness, I’ve blocked the feed from a full 2/3s of my “friends”, and for the same reason.) You cannot talk to the MiL for a minute without her mentioning something somebody said on Facebook or a picture she saw there or whatever.

          I talk about it with my wife sometimes. I make it clear that we MUST NEVER become like her mother and aunt in old age. I cannot imagine a less fulfilling retirement than spending countless hours on Facebook living vicariously through others. What a bloody tragedy.

      • Rates says:

        Darn you beat me to it.

        Muppets … deserve their fall.

        If people say that it’s impossible to maintain relationship without Facebook, then how did people in the past do it?

        But Facebook will be ok. 2 billion users, 1.7 billion of which aren’t US citizens. Ok, maybe the Europeans will get angry, but in Asia, they’ll be wondering why this is such a big deal. Why? Because most of these people don’t have money, so they don’t care if the data gets sold.

        • thejerkstore says:

          If you have an android phone you have a FB account it just doesn’t have a name, you can’t even uninstall it but it’s yours.

        • Rates says:

          I have an Android tablet, but I don’t use any of my real info there.

          I only use it for one thing: MoviePass. I go to the theater: I turn it on, but a ticket, and then I turn it off. MoviePass can’t even make money off me i.e. selling my info.

          And I have a dumb phone.

          At the end of the day, I am not a hermit. Friends who think well of me are not inconvenienced by the fact that I am not on Facebook or any of the “hot” apps like Whatsapp, etc. They text me and we meet somewhere. Ok so maybe “they” mine my texts, but so what, can’t send me any adverts or at least I am not seeing one so far.

        • roccoco says:

          Totally agree with above three comments; I’m an older guy, who has witnessed, and grew up along with technology, from the first IBM, open sourced PC’s thru laptops, tablets, to “smart” phones… My opinion is that they’re”capable” of doing waaay more than I want, or need… And the more they CAN do, the less dependable they are… To the point that I can’t even read an article on screen anymore, as device is busy downloading/uploading everything BUT what I want it to be doing.. Just display the article, dammit!! Then, it freezes and blank screens me…irritating to point that I just starts forwarding articles to my desktop, to print and read… But, now, windows doesn’t like me using Mozilla and Thunderbird, so everytime it “updates” to improve MY experience, all my settings change to windows platforms ( with no intuitive way to reset to what I prefer)…
          Yes, I’m planning to simplify, and shed of the MIRAGE of high tech capabilities, when its all run by rubber bands, and patched together with duct tape… It will meet with a deserving END … Like mushrooms s’ fungus’s: Auto-digestion… Reaching a robust state of life, and eating itself, to return to whence it came

      • d says:

        They have been working at it since the very late 70’s.

        In many companies now, if your employment application does not have Facebook and LinkedIn details, it instantly gets binned.

        The world is becoming a very sad place.

        • Alistair McLaughlin says:

          That is a bleeping tragedy if that is the case. Personally, I’d be MORE likely to hire someone if they stay away from FB, Twitter and LinkedIn. I would think an employee whose head is clear of the usual “social media” clutter would be a real catch these days. Sad that corporations would not recognize the competitive advantage of hiring such employees. Sadder still that they would intentionally screen them out.

      • California Bob says:

        “A society of muppets…mission accomplished”

        Unfair to Muppets.

  2. Guido says:

    Answer: addiction, compulsion, or any other story people tell themselves.

    Most people don’t have the time nor the mental capacity to question the assumptions in their thought process. The more the free money floating in the system, the more people there are at a given job, the more noise and hustle-bustle they need to make to keep their jobs. So they don’t let others think. Eventually one falls into the trap of passively consuming and doing nothing that rocks the proverbial boat. Once they lose the ability to think critically, they are a ‘captive’ audience. On top of this people like Wolf write about abstract concepts of people mining away data. Too much information to process.

    I’ve noticed that teenagers display more critical thinking than a lot of grownups when it comes to social media. There’s a scare element in their lives, bullying and child molestors included. So kids on Snapchat have two levels of relationships. First they’ll let you onto their Twitter circles. Unless they know you personally, you’ll stay there. If they like your thought process, you move on to Snapchat. They’ve a fear of data that stays back and is available for bullying and may damage relationships later on. The concern is not so much as to what Snapchat knows but what is displayed. That said, they too cannot grasp the abstract concept of data mining. They too have no time or bandwidth to think about these issues.

    Finally, there’s the constant din of news that fact checks and counter fact checks and sounds a lot like crows battling over some piece of meat. So what do you do? You tune out.

    • Rates says:

      I disagree. Most people in First World Countries have the capacity and time to question their assumptions. What’s blocking them are not the lack of those, rather a lack of will, laziness and extraneous pride. Just put down those “smart” phones and start thinking. No time, and yet they are always on their phones.

      I would agree with you when it comes to third world countries. You are struggling everyday just to remain alive, you don’t even know that concepts such as “self actualization” exist.

      • fajensen says:

        Whatever happened to “Worry about what you control?”

        I think it is pretty annoying that everything always somehow in the end gets blamed on “other peoples” personal and moral failures and weaknesses, and then whatever happens is now also the personal responsibility of the individual to solve. In addition to all the other accumulated crap one has to deal with individually.

        I don’t accept the notion that just because some zuckberg made some shitty surveillance platform it now ME who must rearrange my “will” and “energy”. WTF!? Come Next Week it will be something else I “must” care about or I am being lazy, immoral and irresponsible!? ;

        Screw that!

        I expect government to regulate this kind of thing, which they will eventually, because they don’t like things that they do not control (even though they like the surveillance). In the meantime I shall direct my limited willpower and my diminishing energy onto what is important to ME, I don’t care about all the other monkeys and their business, there is no gain for me in it.

        • Rates says:

          Who’s this government? Are they not made of human beings? So what you are saying is that you are blaming “other people” for not taking care of you.

          Muppets DESERVE their fall. Zero critical thinking skills.

          Sorry, the buck stops with you.

  3. Gerold says:

    Chicken Little: “the sky is falling.” This is old news that everyone’s known for years which is why there’s no rush to delete accounts.

    I want them to ‘spy’ on me and post only stuff I’m interested in. For example: I’m a life-long bachelor; no wife, no kids, no pets, no catastrophes so why would I want to see ads for baby food, feminine hygiene products or dog food?

    • intosh says:

      “post only stuff I’m interested in”

      Also called “information selfie”.

  4. Ron says:

    I left Facebook last year disgusted with the commercial aspect of the company and their use of private data. Even though I requested max separation Facebook continues to send Friend posts to my email along with various appeals to return. Facebook is like a relative that likes your house and overstays the visit. Overall I find it difficult to imagine why my peers continue to post and chat on Facebook.

    • Robert says:

      I did not know or imagine that was possible. Before I merely disliked FB, now I am afraid of it.

      Things that begin with F: FBI, FaceBook, the FED, . . . . .

      • Robert says:

        This was supposed to be a reply to Patrick Matthiesen — the screen scrolled as I was hitting reply, and this got posted in the wrong place. Sorry .

  5. A friend of mine put me on Facebook. Since then they have used data, taken photos from other people where I am present and ransacked my LinkedIn site without any permission. On three separate occasions I have gone through the motions of following the instructions and removing my data yet it still appears. It is totally wicked.

    • Scott says:

      I’ve read this elsewhere as well. My understanding is that Facebook essentially has a profile of everyone regardless of if they use the service or not. They very much do collect information on people without their consent, which is especially galling for those of us who have elected not to use Facebook for that very reason.

    • mikey says:

      An angry ex made one for me and filled it with some partly true tories that were not flattering . Most of my relatives joined it and she got some people I work with too.

      Eventually, I was able to make one myself where I wrote a report om my work with the Royal Cambodian Navy. I guess the data from the previous one will float around internet forever.

  6. YIH says:
    Zuckerberg told you what he thinks of you nearly 8 years ago. Think about it.

  7. SimplyPut7 says:

    I just assumed they were already doing this.

    Anything remotely tied to the internet: Facebook, Google Chrome search engine, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and any apps I download on my phone for free and even the ones I pay for.

    I don’t put anything online that I wouldn’t want to be front page news or download apps that want permission to things not related to their software e.g. my contacts or photos.

    The Internet NEVER forgets.

    • Not necessarily, Google scrubs. I learned long ago if there is an important article to keep my own copy. My memory is pretty good about many news items, which if I had to confirm them for a story, have simply disappeared. Not sure how nefarious it is, the sheer lightness of being is overtaking us. I am sure newspapers archive their stories but they probably do not necessarily back them up. So we’re coming to world with no history. Or only the history which can fit into a package, but such is the nature of life and death, one day you’re a living breathing part of it, the next day you’re a picture on the mantle, and soon not even that.

      • HowNow says:

        I don’t know why I liked your comment so much. Eloquent? Grim? Both? Or “not even that”?

        But. regarding the central topic, why aren’t comments reflecting the behavior (business) of Cambridge Analytics?

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Check, and double-check on the archiving and manipulating of our history, collective and personal. A better day to us all…

  8. Enrique says:

    Other than my 60 year-old aunt in Sevilla, who exactly is on this stupid platform? I never, ever, ever, ever saw the slightest bit of upside to it.

    Doubt any meaningful regulatory action will come at them along the via Washingtona. They, and Google, and the rest of Big Tech are clearly an adjunct of the US government while will make a show of nipping the hand that feeds before as ever submitting to it. And its money.

    Now the EU? That’s an interesting proposition. They’ve been making noises for years and unlike Washington their antitrust apparatus is not entirely defanged.

    And what if some actual US antiestablishment political movement got meaningful power? That I would doubt as a practical matter, but I sense FB et al are not at all popular with the further right and left wings of the American electorate. And now they’re getting blamed for Trump! Who then are their friends? Clearly whomever they are paying, but that will go only so far in the face of significant voter outrage.

    Interesting times ahead, perhaps.

  9. raxadian says:

    I am not in Facebook and I have never used it. I admit I use WhatsApp but I just have to because others do. There is just not the same pressure to use Facebook that to use WhatsApp.

    Facebook still has is uses but for me nothing you can do there can’t be replaced.

    Find out people I haven’t talked to in ages? Why? We stopped talking for a reason.

    I wanna know what people uses Facebook for.

    Oh and this is relevant:

    Anyone under 25 who uses Facebook nowadays is considered “out” unless is mostly to keep in contact with relatives living far away.

    • RD Blakeslee says:


      • raxadian says:

        No one uses e-mail to contact people anymore, too much time getting rid of spam.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          uhhh, I do. But perhaps I’m not wealthy/young/popular or profligate enough with my personal info enough to be targeted…a better day to you!

        • Green Rock says:

          I use email in my small business. No Facebook. I do have a “placeholder” page which tells users that they should contact me via the contact page on my website. So FB is sending users to my website. And, I really stick to this! Email works just fine if you use a smaller, local ISP.

          My phone is a dumb phone; I use mini I-pads for work photos. It all works fine. No one argues.

    • Smingles says:

      “I wanna know what people uses Facebook for.”

      Almost everything you can do on Facebook can be done elsewhere. But Facebook aggregates all of these functions under one utility in one place.

      People use Facebook because it’s easy. It’s the ultimate communications app, whether you like it or want to admit it.

      Apart from the privacy concerns, my biggest gripe is the sheer amount of narcissism it produces. I DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE PLAIN BAGEL YOU HAD FOR BREAKAST.

  10. Al Loco says:

    I read the app permissions and chose to stay web based on Facebook. Not that the app permissions are different than other (basically give all your mobile device data away), Web based gave me the option to live without it. They have progressively restricted features like messaging and marketplace unless I download the app. At this point it became apparent how bad it is to me. I keep using though, and it’s just how it sounds. I’m addicted. I get closer to quitting every day but it’s probably too late, they have as much data as they will ever need for my profile.

  11. This is a bit more nefarious than birth dates and pet’s names. Does anyone put real information in those security questions the guard your accounts? The people who do that are low hanging fruit, and faux populism is the low paid migrant worker picking that fruit. If you are really that obvious you might as well stay on Facebook.

  12. jal says:

    We are communicating with each other and there are switchboard operators making it possible.
    Todays switchboard operators resides in everyone’s machine and are always listening so that they are able to send and receive your communications to whoever you want.
    On top of that, any curious person can insert an extra switchboard operator to listen to your communications.

  13. cdr says:

    You can’t DELETE an account, at least I couldn’t – even though I googled repeatedly about hot to do it. You can only make it ‘inactive’. Mine is inactive and would be gone if there was a way to do it. If I ever sign in again, it will revert to ‘active’ just by signing in. It’s possibly active just because I only made it ‘inactive’ and didn’t do anything else in over a year. (I can only wonder about my fake account in the name of Slam Dunk, who was one of over 300 other Slam Dunk’s.) Thankfully, I no longer get spam email from Facebook, so I’m probably still inactive.

    I never use my account and opened it for reasons only peripherally related to social networking. I wrote an on-line how to book and thought it would be good to have a Facebook link. I don’t even remember the password to it. Personally, have absolutely no idea why anyone would want to put their personal information out for the world to see. Even in comments here, I carefully censor myself to make sure nothing too bold is ‘out there’.

    BTW, Facebook is only irritated about Cambridge Analytical because they didn’t get paid for the lapse in their control of data outlets. Otherwise, CA would just be another customer.

    • cdr says:

      Anyone who uses Facebook and does not know they’re fodder is new to the world and ripe for the picking. However, someone like me who uses ad blockers out the wazoo any beyond is immune to all cunning advertisers and their masterful ability to cross reference – at least until they do it by IP. Then, I’m as vulnerable as everyone else – at lease until Comcast changes my IP again.

      Also, I use Sandboxie and keep my browser data in a ram disk. It clears every time I exit the browser and the ram disk clears every time I shut off my laptop. CCleaner clears what gets through all that.

      • cdr says:

        Android is an advertising – personal data outlet from you to them. It takes massive know-how and a home technological infrastructure to keep data private from them and still a lot gets though if you let down your guard.

        Re Android: The average person is owned as soon as they log in unless they’re smarter than the average bear. Then, they’re only spied upon. FB revelations are the tip of the iceberg. Everyone is doing it, or at least you should assume they are.

        The only safe thing I know of is HTTPS and then only to buy something from something reputable.

    • Murdoch_Mysteries says:

      And you had the former Obama campaign manager on Twitter bragging about how “FB was on their side” and all the data mining they did during their election campaign……………

      Guess nobody was complaining about that………

      • robt says:

        Some ditz on The View said it was OK, because the Obama campaign just wanted to inform people of true facts but the Trump campaign wanted to sow disinformation.
        There you go, nothing to complain about, and a window into the MSM ‘mind’.

    • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

      cdr – That’s how this stuff always comes out into the open air: Someone forgets to pay their bribes.

    • Green Rock says:

      Air BnB and VRBO won’t let users out, either. One can only become inactive. As a former Air BnB host, that’s when I realized these platforms were about selling our data to become billionaires.

      Tha upside is : when we change our lives, sell the house, etc, the data is old. When the big deflation comes, this aggregate data will be useless. It’s been used for leveraging. And when the markets correct, good bye data gains.

  14. Harrold says:

    “Facebook it too popular, no one posts on there any more”
    — Yogi Berra

  15. Bead says:

    Every once in a while FaceBook reminds me that somebody wants to login to my old FaceBook account. Rather than login or reply I just give thanks for all the rubes who are helping our intrepid researchers. Next I give thanks for the efficiency and increased sales resulting from targeted advertising, probably numbers beyond imagining.

  16. Mvrk says:

    The answer to the question in the title above is actually quite simple. It’s called dopamine…the same neurotransmitter that’s triggered in our brains with virtually every other addiction. Sean Parker, the ex-founding president of Facebook, spelled it out all very clearly at an Axios event in Philadelphia back in Nov 2017. Google it. Pretty fascinating that the founders of Facebook fully understood the addictive nature of their new service right from the very start.

    • When I look at Zuckerberg I really do get the feeling that the CIA is behind this

      • Mvrk says:

        Sure, that’s why Zuckerberg always wears those grey T-shirts. No fashion sense, those CIA agents…

        • Wolf Richter says:


          CIA employees are “officers” as in “case officers” or “NOC officers.” CIA “agents” are foreign nationals that the CIA has “recruited” to tell secrets about their government, technology, etc.

          FBI employees are “agents” as in “special agents.”

      • d says:

        IF Zu was working for, or part of an intel unit, it wouldnt be CIA.

        It wouldnt even be a US entity.

        • fajensen says:

          He could work for SAIC? Ernesto Stavros Blofelds PPP – if he was a real living person.

      • Setarcos says:

        A few years ago almost every website had the facebook and twitter buttons added virtually overnight. It spread at virus speed …how?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Very simple explanation – from behind the scenes, if you will.

          Website platforms, such as WordPress, which this site runs on, made these social media buttons available, and website owners, such as myself, were told that the social media buttons were necessary to spread the content around the internet and increase traffic, which is what everyone wants.

          At some point, some of the media sites that targeted Facebook specifically (funny videos, cute pics, feel-good stories, etc.) got 20% to 40% of their traffic from Facebook.

          I took these buttons off recently as an experiment. And I have not seen any difference yet.

          As a side note: I only used basic buttons (a piece of code) from a third party that did not include tracking technologies. But the buttons with code provided by Facebook, which I never used, are tracking readers and what they click on throughout the Internet.

        • robt says:

          For every blight there is a solution. The Facebook and other venues ‘button-killer’ extension.

  17. Max says:

    I never understood why people loved Facebook. It always had an “evilness” for me – people posting their entire lives on it, for the whole world to see. Recently, there was some report about how destructive FB (and other social media is) because reading about how fabulous other people’s lives are (mostly fake) causes them to be depressed because their life isn’t so great.

    There is also an element of narcissism to people who use FB (and social media). I do hope that people will wise up and get off FB. Several years ago, a family member posted a picture of me to FB without my permission, and I immediately demanded it be taken off.

    Another tell for me about FB when it first rolled out was that it was partially funded by the CIA. That was enough for me.

  18. Bookdoc says:

    I have never been on Facebook, was on Linked-In for a very short time with a limited profile, and participate in no other social media. I don’t like that much info going out into the Net.
    BTW, this is also one of my objections to both the cashless society and autonomous cars. Someone will know everything you buy and everywhere you go. Add in the location setting on your phone and you are fully open to the government and I just don’t trust the government any more.

    • d says:

      Yes I had the experience of illegal communications interception, and government agents, who defied the courts, and refused to hand over records of their illegal communications interceptions.

      long before face book and LinkedIn Etc, very useful experience.

      Prepaid ANNOMOUS mobil internet, or public terminals, are the only way to use the net, IMHO.

  19. Lori Takano says:

    I spent over 25 years in the Information Technology field. I’ve been telling people for years that the Internet is not a secure platform and never will be. And every time I see a press release that another company, or another bank, or another government entity has experienced a data security breach (e.g. remember Equifax?), I just shake my head. A greater number of these breaches will never even see the light of day, and will remain that way for obvious reasons. A decade or so ago, several major retail corporations of whom I won’t mention here were breached by a felon and his gang using laptops and software downloaded from the Internet for free. As it turned out, those same corporations (Fortune 1000 companies) hadn’t bothered to upgrade their wireless networks to more secure protocols. The only excuse for that was the cost and, in my opinion, technical and managerial incompetence, which is pretty much rampant in the industry and in our governments. And if you can’t trust them to keep your information safe, who can you trust? And if you think that what I’m saying here doesn’t really matter, tell that to all the millions of Americans who have had to deal with their own hellacious nightmares of having their identities stolen via the Internet over the last decade or so.

    • 2GeekRnot2Geek says:


      Absolutely right on all counts. Especially unwilling to cover the costs and unconcerned about the fallout to the consumer.

      My favorite article today is on Data Breach Today or Bloomberg (Sorry, I don’t post links. Duck Duck Go will pick it up.) The Data Breach Today article contains much more information.

      Headline: Expedia’s Orbitz Suspects 880,000 Payment Cards Stolen.

      Wolf: When the Equifax breach happened, I didn’t know that credit reporting data could be frozen. I learned it on your site. Froze all reporting at all 3 majors the next day. Belated thanks for publishing such valuable information.

      • panamabob says:

        I also froze all accounts thanks to Wolf and was as unaware of the operation of credit agencies much less the names. That may be when I donated to his site, or it could have been earlier. Wolf runs a wonderful website that I’ve followed since the Test..Pit days.
        I’ll add that his editing of comments brings added information and wise opinions from those who are published according to his rightful rules of engagement.

    • Seen it all before, Bob says:

      Most of the online banks only have Web statements.

      Maybe that is a good thing. I’ve had more US Mail bank/credit card statements stolen than I have been hacked on a Web account.

      Strong passwords and the hope that nobody steals my mail out of my mailbox or has a backdoor into the companies that hold my critical information. That is all of them so we have no hope.

      • Seen it all before, Bob says:

        It’s probably more likely the minimum wage waiter writes down my credit card number when they take my card back to run the bill. Or I run my card accidentally through a skimmer at a gas station.
        Or the minimum wage teller at my bank is selling my account information.

        The online fear that I have is my information is stolen via a data breach through my bank, credit card company, Amazon (or others).

        I don’t wear an aluminum foil wallet(or hat). I just try to be careful.

  20. JasonB says:

    ” sordid outfit in the UK, Cambridge Analytica, whose business model is to manipulate elections by hook or crook around the world,”

    And for the last year the left of center news media has been pushing the line that only the Russians and their president, Vladamir Putin, manipulate elections.

    • fajensen says:

      Don’t worry, there is going to be something Russian found in there, at least a janitor, but more likely a mathematician or two.

    • d says:

      ” ” ” sordid outfit in the UK, Cambridge Analytica, whose business model is to manipulate elections by hook or crook around the world,” ”

      Did you note the it was founded and funded mainly by American republicans and 1 Steven Bannon among others was a Board member.

  21. Auld Kodjer says:

    I have a buddy who keeps a sticky note on his monitor that says “Call A Friend Every Day”.

    He has more real relationships than any fake on Fakebook.

  22. Prairies says:

    No one is deleting Facebook because it still has some conveniences for people using it. Buy & Sell groups, News, etc without changing the interface too much.
    Look at Snapchat, the last change was so bad they lost millions of users. It alerted users to advertising and buried content from user contacts.

    If Facebook buries users, it will get deleted. But the platform has always been user focused, the advertising gets annoying but never interferes with the user experience.

  23. Seen it all before, Bob says:

    If i want to post pictures of my dog and 2 cats and Facebook sends me coupons for 50% off my favorite dog/cat food, I am grateful.

    If I am shopping for a new lawn mower and Facebook sends me all of the latest deals at Lowes, Home Depot, and Sears, I am also grateful.

    If Facebook wants to hear about my political leanings, I am happy for the opportunity to tell them without being offensive to others.

    If they want to know who my friends were in elementary school, I don’t really care.

    If I want to post my resume on LinkedIn and Facebook and it gets me the best job, I am indebted to them for life.

    It’s not like I post my SSN number, bank accounts, and credit cards number on Facebook. Who would?

    Oops. I just posted everything I post on Facebook here.

    I have relatives who would never have a Facebook account but are proud when their kids are featured in the local paper for an award. People! The local paper is what the local homeless sexual predator is living under for a blanket. They now know your kid lives up the street.

    I am social but unlike some, I don’t believe I need to live off the grid.

  24. Rates says:

    Americans outsource everything including thinking.

    There’s nothing that says that you can’t have Social Media. But let’s just look at the numbers:

    Average FB Software Engineer salary: 150K.
    What people pay: Free

    With “talent” like this, why bother hiring in America? Critical thinking skill : zero.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      “Americans outsource everything including thinking.”

      That, Sir (or Madam or Cross-Gender Person) is one great line!

      I’m going to steal it and use it elsewhere ..

      • d says:

        “That, Sir (or Madam or Cross-Gender Person) is one great line!”

        Its a good line.


        Just like the iranian Puritans who currently run Tehran. The book has all the answers.

        He who needs to think independently, is Evil, and must be Eliminated.

  25. NotLee says:

    FB makes it easy to keep up with family business when the family is scattered all across America. I like it.
    Just put in a phony birthday when you first sign up, and you will probably be unworried by your info being distributed.
    And since more than half of American adults don’t really have any cash in their accounts, and don’t have any responsibility for fraudulent charges on their cards, it is easy to see why most don’t worry about it.
    I could care less about anyone else seeing my vacation pictures…even though some of them are probably saleable.
    When the whole village knew all your business, people still had affairs with the neighbors wife, and were still hassled by the local fruit vendor to buy tangerines.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I tried the phony birth-date and fake-name thing with Facebook, and it refused to open an account for me. I heard you can do this in other countries, but in the US, Facebook checks out your data, and if you don’t exist, you cannot open an account.

      • JB says:

        wow – wonder what data base they are using to validate new account submission ? if they get a hit they have a link to this info also.

      • d says:

        How many non US based ones do you want?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          But on second thought, if I keep using it from a cafe in the US (to hide my home IP address), they would soon cancel the account because it’s a foreign account … these guys know everything… I’d have to get a computer with a keyboard that matches the country of the account. So for a European country, it would have to be an AZZERTY keyboard with European language settings on the computer. Then I would have to establish a VPN connection to that European country to an IP address that matches the country of the account…

          This gives me a headache just to think about.

        • d says:

          No, you get one with/in a country that uses US style setup. same keyboard spell check defaults Etc the way micro$oft tries to make the rest of the world, when they do a new install, all US style by default..

          Outside the US FB dont seem to mind if you setup in one country, then operate in many. If its always on wireless/wifi or mobile, it is much harder to pinpoint which machine, in which place, with out spending money. To justify the investment, you must misbehave.

          Particularly if at the end of each session you clear all browser data/ or at least use private windows in the browser.

          It will only become an issue for you if you regularly misbehave so come to their attention.

          FB KNEW the Russian accounts used to support P 45, were Russian they did not care, until, it became an issue.

        • d says:

          Further you travel.

          The next time you are out of the US. Visiting wife’s home country would be excellent, make some of your own.

          Richtero San, Wolfo San, From Tondabashi/Ibaraki/Higashi (there are thousands of Higashi somethings), It’s not hard

      • Seen it all before, Bob says:

        Hi Wolf, I have enjoyed your blog for the last year. Thanks for your effort with it.

        I set up an account for my dog and cat. Even though that is against Facebook policy. My brother was posting from his dog’s account for years.

        From my experience, you need.

        1) A birthdate. I had to convert to dog years for my dog because 4 years old is not the minimum age for Facebook. So I entered 28.
        I do get a reminder every year on my dog’s birthday so I give him a special treat.
        2) A valid E-mail address. I had to set up an E-mail for my dog on Yahoo. So far, all my dog gets is spam. He’d prefer real SPAM in a can.
        3) I can’t remember if a cell number was required but I entered my own but by default, it is hidden from all users.

  26. Ed says:

    If people don’t suffer readily apparent and direct harm from a privacy breach, they don’t care too much. It’s an understandable way of thinking. People are busy.

    Facebook knows this and expects this to blow over.

    I don’t know that it will. I expect the stock to fall further. You can bet they will be slammed in Europe. I expect Congress to do nothing. If it doesn’t look like a tax cut or can be made to behave like a tax cut (see health care), Congress is not interested!

    • Rates says:

      Yep, Zuckerberg will still be President in the end. If they can forgive Hillary for a couple of emails, what’s a couple of million of data points?

      Did I say this before that muppets DESERVE their fate? I think I did.

      • Ed says:

        You did. :)

        I still think I would not touch FB stock. They are facing a threat to their current business model, at least in Europe.

  27. AG says:

    For a glimpse of what the future has in store, I’d recommend watching the movie “The Circle” (2017). It’s excellent, and takes us to the limit of what our voluntary privacy-revealing culture might some day be like. I’m still amazed that it only got a 5.3 rating on IMDB, since I gave it a 10.

    • TheDona says:

      AG – I enjoyed that movie also. See Nosedive in the Black Mirror series in which all of ones opportunities and services are based on the amount of Likes and Dislikes.
      Someone from China must have written that episode because a Social Credit System is due to be implemented by 2020.

  28. DK says:

    I know people that started fake Fb accounts years ago, and they all posted made up stuff and pictures, etc. pretty funny.

    • Seen it all before, Bob says:

      My dog and one of my cats have a FB account. I hope Cambridge Analytica and the Russians are having fun with that. I am. They are both liberals who voted for Bernie At least that is what they said…..

  29. AG says:

    FB was Zuck’s creation, and his youthful unconcern for privacy is now about to catch up with him, big time. When he was a sophomore at Harvard, he had an idea of posting female student’s photos from his dorm-room made website, which he called Facemash. It let students them vote on who was the hottest-looking person.

    The site’s popularity almost took down Harvard’s server, almost got him suspended, and brought him a ton of negative feedback for using student photos without permission. He dropped out the next year to start Facebook.

    It’s ironic that the original Right to Privacy concept was also started at Harvard, when Louis Brandeis wrote a law review article in 1890 which first introduced that revolutionary idea.

    • Michael Fiorillo says:

      Yes, and when asked by an incredulous classmate if people were really giving him personal information, he responded, “Yeah, they are , the dumb f^#%s.”

      Then there’s the casual nihilism of “Move Fast and Break Things.”

  30. panamabob says:

    I was on FB for 2 weeks thanks to a girlfriend at the time circa 2009. It was a week before my birthday in March. The day of my birth I had all these congratulations pouring into my world that I thought should be acknowledged with a Thank You. It was an annoyance that I found out later in conversation was not necessary. Well too late, the next day instructions were given to said girlfriend to delete account. I’m ever glad of the results.

  31. Kasadour says:

    As long as I control what I post on fb or anywhere for that matter, I am not sure what the fuss is about. Fb uses my data (demographic) for targeted ads, yet I have never purchased anything or influenced to purchase something as a result of a targeted fb ad. I read somewhere the conversion rate on fb is so low it’s effectively zero. How, then, would the use of my data influence my vote? I can unequivocally state that I would not have voted for HRC even if a brain damaged monkey ran against her.

    If fb or other social media platform or website were to somehow hack into my smart phone and use my text messages or email, or transcribe my phone calls, then that would be worthy of outrage. But this, I don’t care about very much.

    That said, I am not a fan of Zuckerberg. For some reason they (whoever they are) want to take him out. I personal believe HRC is exacting her pound of flesh from anyone she can over her epic loss.

    • panamabob says:

      Dude you are bringing politics into this comment section and I think Wolf is watching, you might be on thin ice.
      I just commented on this article that Wolf does a great job of editing his site for many slanted agendas which add nothing to his work.
      Keep your opinions to those who look in the same direction and you will be gladly verified in your mind.

    • Seen it all before, Bob says:

      Facebook is getting real smart.

      If I post that I am shopping for lawn mowers today, I will get ads and discounts for lawn mowers for Lowes and Home Depot on Facebook.

      It is scary smart that if go to the local Lowes, it will pop up a survey on how I liked my Lowes’ experience. It tracks me via my Facebook cell phone app GPS.

      However, I don’t care if the Russians know I shop at Lowes. Maybe in aggregate, they could buy stock in Lowes if they knew a million people went there and they bought stock based on that.

      Here is a scary thought. Equities are so overvalued that I wonder where the money is coming from to pump up the dips? Maybe the Russians are sophisticated enough to take trillions of dollars invested by Russian moles. When they decide, they will pull the rug out from under the market and sell 10 trillion dollars of equities at the same time and leave the US a devastated ruin before they invade. It would be a good topic for a conspiracy SciFi book.

  32. Kasadour says:

    Yeah – I’ve been posting here for years on the economic and finance articles. I’m not particularly political as I think both sides are basically corrupted.

    My intent was to respond to this election manipulation by hook or crook claim- I assumed the claim is that DJT had an edge on voters because of the fb involvement with CA. I’m just not sure how effective targeted political ads (manipulation?) are on folks that have their minds made up early on. Alternatively, maybe I am not understanding how this manipulation scheme actually works in the real world. Could you give me a practical hypothetical example of how it works?

    He can delete my post if he finds to too political, I respect that.

    I am a woman not a dude. :-)

    • fajensen says:

      The way FaceBook works is that it’s server farms tracks everything you do with an electronic device as much as possible, where you go, when, how often, with who, what you click on, what you like / dislike, how much time you spend on which web site, browser history … and so on and so forth.

      All that they aggregate into a “vector” a very long array of numbers, each number being some metric associated with your measured behaviour.

      All these vectors are processed using Machine Learning, the first process is the separation and grouping of vectors that are close in hyperspace into “bubbles”. The FaceBook AI is basically creating virtual rooms full of “similar” people and “content” that is agreeable to everyone so that you (ideally) will only see things on FaceBook that you will like and nobody in “your” “bubble” will vehemently disagree with (the AI measure this).

      Once the “bubble” is formed, other algorithms go to work on how the members are connected, who are linked to who and how strongly, who connects to other “bubbles” and how. The idea is to find “Key Nodes”, the people (or bots) the network that set the “tone” of the “bubble”. If one can get them to promote something or like or repost, one can probably influence the debate inside of “the bubble”, move “the bubble” in hyperspace perhaps .

      One also may want to know who may be the ones easiest influenced, those that can be “migrated to another bubble”, these “nodes” will probably be seen by the AI as people on the “surface” of the “bubble” with weaker / fewer network connections.

      Once these “weak nodes” are identified, they can be targeted by fake “friends”, selected news items, adds and whatnot to deliberately shape their perception of the world and form opinions based “on the data”, which happens to be only available to them.

      Does it work? I think it does! I even think former “MK-ULTRA” people are researching and experimenting diligently in how to use “social media” to sway individuals into doing things that are both easily detectable from a safe distance and not something that these people would normally do – for Science and Our Safety – Of Course.

      I am not so sure that it scales well enough to swing an election because people are probably more diverse than FaceBooks machinery can see, so, the question is perhaps more whether Cambridge Analytica were selling snake oil or not.

      By just using FaceBooks public add interfaces, one can find and target individuals pretty exactly, the internal API’s are bound to offer many more possibilities.

      The thing is also, how much of our minds are really made up?

      Most rational, normal, people will eventually adopt to the culture and ways of the group they are with. Those people who cannot adjust, will instead seek out groups with shared values and cultures that they are comfortable conforming with, instead reinforcing their ideas.

      I kinda think that people who become “radicalised” were cracked in the head to begin with and more or less randomly finds a place where their dysfunctions are normal and acceptable so they can express their true nature.

  33. gadi says:

    Just FYI Facebook shut down the API used to get this data back in 2015
    It allowed app developers to get access to your friends without you knowing.
    Today, you need to give the app explicit permission to do this. I guess many people will trade their friend’s name for a few free lives.

    • Terrified by Mind Manipulators says:

      Just FYI, the revised API appears to be full of loopholes. From the article linked above about the pranking roommate:

      “EDIT: Facebook has since changed their policies and won’t allow you to market to any audience with less than 20 people. If you want to try this yourself, there’s a loophole. Let’s say you want to target one of your guy friends, add his email to a .CSV along with the emails of 19 female friends before uploading it to Facebook. You can then target anyone in that custom audience who is also male (thus eliminating the 19 women and effectively targeting a single person).”

  34. WES says:

    I guess from my worldly travels, I have a slightly different and more cynical slant on FB since FB’s startup was originally funded by US spy agencies. Obviously I have crossed paths with various spooks over the years.

    Now if I was a spook, and wanted to spy on everyone around the world what would be the best, cheapest, and fastest way to go about doing this?

    Why, yes get everyone to happily self spy on themselves! After all we self fill up our cars don’t we? Not only are billions of people spying on themselves with daily updates but also constantly networking with everyone they know too!

    Now as a spook, I also want to know where you are 24/7 too. I also want to know what you look and sound like too not to mention what you are doing, a thinking, and saying!

    So what is the best, cheapest and fastest way to do all of this? Yes, why of course, have all the spy targets pay for their own GPS, cameras, mics, remote on/off camera/sound software, and face reconigniction software on their cellphones!

    This is absolutely brilliant! I have got everything I need and much much more! My useful idiots are gladly willing to pay for, maintain, and update my spy network! So now I know where they are, what their doing, saying, and thinking, 24/7 in real time!

    I believe I have finally reached Spy Utopia!

  35. WES says:

    I forgot to mention finger print reconigition software!

  36. Arnold Ziffel says:

    Interesting story about my brother benefitting from Facebook even though he doesn’t have an account. A couple who introduced him to his ex wife got together 20 year later with her after connecting through Facebook. Meeting her and her son who was 21 years old they said he looked like my brother. She broke down and said it was in fact my brother’s son and she got impregnated a couple of days before they separated and used the pregnancy to get the man she was having an affair with to marry her. My brother had a DNA test to confirm it was his son. Poor 3rd husband still owes $35K in back child support!

    • d says:

      “Poor 3rd husband still owes $35K in back child support!”

      Yet you know the child is not his and have not made any arrangements for the information to come into his possession???

      • will says:

        Don’t be lame, this is a story about FB, not doing the right thing!!!


        In all seriousness tho, I think most states don’t care – if you sign on the dotted line at the bottom of the Birth Certificate, you /are/ the father – they don’t care about paternity tests, or what you find out afterwards.

        It’s probably worse even than being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment (or accidentally touching someone’s shoulder or whatever), although maybe this is changing… at least you don’t get fired from life for owing some bucks to a few brats.. ;o

      • Arnold Ziffel says:


        The former 4th husband isn’t aware that his son isn’t his son. My brother is under no obligation to disclose the situation. My brother has; however, has bonded with his son. My mother met her grandson before she passed away a month later. Sad that the slut deprived us from being involved in the young man’s life as he grew up.

  37. Silly Me says:

    Not being on FB raises a red flag…

    Originally, I joined about a decade ago to my former student’s request and kept my account private. I had only false data, no posts, and hardly any entries. After several years of ignoring the site, I logged in in order to respond to a former student’s message, only to find that they automatically filled my personal details. It’s some satisfaction that they still didn’t get them right.

    I can empathize with those who are old, isolated, or ill, but keeping a few good friends privately seems to ensure the only type of authentic contacts. Also, placing myself on a public display feels a tad inappropriate to me, despite my having lectured to several hundred people as a professor (but that served my students’ needs and I managed to remain invisible.most of the time).

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      I’m “old folk” and obviously have access to the web, I also communicate with anyone I want to without Facebook, Twitter, Pee-and-Tell or any other “social” site.

      Plain old email. Ever heard of it?

      • Silly Me says:

        True landline (not VoIP) calls are still off the “market,” at least theoretically.

        They are, however, still stored and analyzed “as needed,” just like email.

    • Baritone Woman says:

      “Not being on FB raises a red flag” ???

      Well, then, color me a Commie.

      I don’t have a Twitter account, either.

      Simply put: I don’t swim in dirty water. Both sites have had reputations as cesspools for years, and I’ll be damned if what I’d say on either site is used by a prospective employer or client is used as an excuse to either not hire me or do business with me.

      And believe me, prospects DO check your FB and Twitter posts.

      I’m not completely a Luddite, though: I have LinkedIn, but that’s with the understanding that it’s strictly a business/professional social medium, B-to-B, professionals-to-professionals. No personal stuff (no pets, “friends”, political opinions, etc)

      • Silly Me says:

        I wish there were more of you. :)

        However, the only freedom for the average person these days comprises of staying unpredictable, because that forces the profiteers to underestimate your breaking point and leave you more of the scraps. Of course, that is true only if their aim is not immediate plunder and moving on to greener pastures.

  38. Silly Me says:

    Forgot to mention, but last time I logged in, my security program warned me about FB trying to use my webcam without my permission.

    • d says:

      Windows 10 on does the same.

      Only PERMANENT cure seems to be to physically disconnect the camera, as with firewall, downloads etc, windows will still do what micro$oft tell it to, no matter how much you reset and turn off things.

      • HowNow says:

        Just put a dash of electrical tape over the lens.

        • d says:

          In time, tape falls off.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          I do that. Zuckerberg does it. If it falls off (after about 6 months), put on a new piece of tape.

        • d says:

          Tape is still ugly,.

          Disconnect Camera, at the same time you Disconnect the, Mike and Speakers, which can also be used as Mikes, Normally when changing the hard drive (peopel put things in boot sectors, and drive firmware), and cleaning the machine internally. All done in 1 operation.

          Some of the older Modems can be turned into listening devices I was once told (Unsure if that is true).

        • d says:

          and looks ugly

        • Silly Me says:

          And the microphone. :) Disabling the hardware with software is unlikely to be reliable, due to the numerous and now quite public backdoors in Windows.

  39. Insignia says:

    Good to see all this for Zuck. I dont FaceJoke, Insta or Link. NO need at all. Real life matters more. Hopefully he pays a steep price for his absolute lies about FB and its impacts. The more pain he feels the better. There is nothing on FB you cant find elsewhere on the web.

    Time for Zuck to be painted as the joke he and his ‘social network’ actually are. No loss at all to see him suffer physically or mentally for his great idea.
    Zuck is a pathetic ignorant putz. Another idiot thinking he can ‘change the world’. Check the news. Not much is changing. We just use different tools that a few years ago. Good to see the lawsuits being filed already. I fully applaud that effort and hope to see so many more with his name on it.

    • Silly Me says:

      And I hope, by the time he goes down, he will have established a lifestyle he cannot maintain. After all, that’s an old recipe for the once-rich to die penniless.

  40. Lars says:

    You cannot delete a FaceBook account without providing a valid Death Certificate !!!
    That should tell you all you need to know about what the Surveillance State wants with your personal data.

    • Silly Me says:

      That supports the info that the whole idea of FB was a “security”initiative.

      However, I would highly value a source for your information.

  41. LouisDeLaSmart says:

    It seems to be true…that capitalist will sell the ropes that will be used to hang them. This is, not facebook, an excellent topic and question…who exactly should have access to US customer data?
    Even better question, short of the “evil Russians” (that somehow are always at fault) who interfered into the US election and how?
    Who are these companies/groups?
    Where is the money coming from?
    Where do they come from?
    Who owns them?
    Whom do they work for?
    Whom have they worked for?
    + 16 intelligence agencies ( wiki “1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States”)
    + Countless billions spent
    = 0 answers -> government efficiency at it’s best

  42. Robert M. says:

    30% of all divorces now involve Facebook. My soon-to-be ex-wife reconnected with not one, but two men from her high school glory days on there. Social media, like anything else, has its pluses and minuses. One of those negatives, though, is that it makes cheating too easy in what initially seems like safe and innocent fun.

    • phathalo says:

      May I suggest that this is not “caused” by social media/facebook?

    • Frederick says:

      That’s VERY true An ex girlfriend of mine contacted me after 40 years but I was already remarried Our enthusiastic banter went over like a lead balloon with my new wife and I had to end that in a hurry

  43. Winston says:

    As usual, the mainstream media bias is amazing:

    What’s genius for Obama is scandal when it comes to Trump


    In 2012, The Guardian reported that President Obama’s reelection team was “building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before.”

    What, exactly, would Obama be doing? According to The Guardian, Obama’s new database would be gathered by asking individual volunteers to log into Obama’s reelection site using their Facebook credentials. “Consciously or otherwise,” The Guardian states, “the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page — home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends — directly into the central Obama database.”

    Facebook had no problem with such activity then. They do now. There’s a reason for that. The former Obama director of integration and media analytics stated that, during the 2012 campaign, Facebook allowed the Obama team to “suck out the whole social graph”; Facebook “was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing.” She added, “They came to [the] office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.”

    • Winston says:

      Obama campaign’s Carol Davidsen admits Democrats sucked out “the entire social network of the US”, kept the data and still have it.

      • Bob says:

        Your bias is amazing. The Obama campaign obtained aggregate data with Facebook’s permission. Cambridge Analytica obtained individual data by violating the terms of service agreement. That is a huge difference.

        • Dan Romig says:

          To me the difference is that Facebook wanted Obama to be re-elected; so they happily helped. But Facebook wanted HRC to be elected, so Cambridge Analytica basically did the same thing for Trump.

          My Dad gave me a few words of wisdom when I was growing up, and: “Son, two wrongs don’t make a right.” was one of them.

          I do not Facebook, but I use my real name on WolfStreet just as I did on The New York Times’ Krugman’s comments (which I do not post anymore) and in the Minneapolis StarTribune’s editorial section. Reason being? My comments reflect my opinions and what I write is intended to sway opinions of those who’re reading. Therefore I do not want to hide behind an anonymous identity.

          Both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are using technology to enrich themselves and shape the world to their preferred form. Now, at least some of the masses are more aware of these ulterior motives.

        • Winston says:

          “To me the difference is that Facebook wanted Obama to be re-elected; so they happily helped. But Facebook wanted HRC to be elected, so Cambridge Analytica basically did the same thing for Trump.”

          THAT is correct and that was explicitly stated by the BHO team and in the video I linked to. I simply prefer fair mainstream news coverage which no longer exists in the US.

    • Smingles says:

      Ben Shapiro– the author of the piece you linked to– is a Breitbart moron. Everything he says should be taken with a giant grain of salt.

      My favorite story about him was during a TV segment talking about Caitlyn Jenner, he repeatedly referred to a trans women on the show as a “sir” (purposefully, since he’s militantly anti-trans and anti-homosexual), until she told him to “cut it out, or you’ll go home in an ambulance.” The little turd put his tail between his legs and whimpered out that it was inappropriate.

    • 91B20 1stCav says:

      Referring and echoing Dan R.’s ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’, I must wonder if it wasn’t a case of the Obama campaign’s Facebook campaign strategy being superior to the RNC’s Diebold ballot-box one??? (cue tape of Karl Rove’s on-screen performance as that election was being called). A better day to us all…

  44. Konstantin KS says:

    I agree with instant gratification and validation needs mentioned above. I wuold add that free time is what you have when not having a job and then you usually don;t have money, free time is expensive to pass unless you have some free games to play and facebook is one of them.

  45. Steve Graves says:

    Facebook makes people feel important. They have their page, which bestows on them a certain status they otherwise don’t feel they possess. So it’s an ego boost, more or less; look at me, I’m somebody. I have my own page, so my existence must mean something. Ha.

    Facebook also provides people with a platform to voice their opinions, which is ironic considering the vast majority of their opinions are simply programmed by media outlets. But this is nothing new, of course. The vast majority of everyone’s opinions throughout human history, not to mention prehistory, have always been conditioned by some other authority with its own tasty agenda. People have never really thought for themselves, mainly because they are incapable of anything that resembles critical thinking. It’s easier to be told what to do than to decide all on your own; in the former, you have no one to blame but yourself when things go awry, a frightful thought.

    Most of all, though, Facebook is basically a plague on civilization. The founders of this country would be clawing out of their graves if they knew we’d created a platform in which every Tom, Dick and Harriet could spout their lofty opinions. The last thing those intelligent and articulate leaders wanted was a truly representative democracy. For a reason. The people are, have always been and will always be (presumably) unfit to govern themselves. Unfortunately, virtually no one else is either!

    Bottom line, this Facebook plague isn’t likely to go anywhere soon and whatever is spawned in its wake (just as Facebook was spawned from Myspace) will probably be even worse, and it’s no great mystery why: human nature. The irony is that Putin, China, Islamic rule and others like them who shun democracy may ultimately be proven right: liberal societies may very well be doomed to failure. In the long run, human nature may not be up to the challenge.

    On the other hand, Facebook could be our road to utopia and all of this nasty business merely a few hiccups along the way to nirvana. It could redeem humanity, lifting us to new heights and finally unveiling our true potential as the ultimate masters of the universe.

    Who knows?

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      “On the other hand, Facebook could be our road to utopia and …”

      “Who knows?”

      I think I do. It won’t.

  46. Mch says:

    Duh, because we have stock in the stupid company. It’s called dogfooding.

    Like I buy from Amazon and have Amazon stock. So, I will have a fake profile on Facebook for their advertisers.

  47. RangerOne says:

    Facebook gets a lot of hate especially from more privacy aware people, but the reality is social media in one form or another is here to stay just like the internet. And that has upsides and downsides.

    I don’t think the net gain from Facebook is huge. It is possible to use it without imparting all that much information but then it is mostly a trash news site.

    I will say this. If you spend alot of time commenting on this blog, then you understand part of the appeal of Facebook.

    The biggest downside of a smartphone is my poops take 10x as long…. Which is probably some serious wasted human capital.

    The biggest upside, it hooks into my cars android auto system and now I have full voice controlled txting, Google map navigation and podcasting all on my cars stock stereo.

  48. Duke De Guise says:

    Don’t be one of Mark Zuckerberg’s “Dumb F^#*s,” OR

    Contaminate the data! OR

    Pay me for my data, baby!

  49. Al says:

    I disagree with this article.

    One of the things that capitalists constantly tout as the benefit of capitalism is competition. So why isn’t social media being served by several competing companies? Yeah, sure Google has it’s Google+ but fb has essentially become a monopoly. There is a way to deal with monopolies. You break them up. Wolf, would you have called for people to stop using phones in the 70’s because of Ma Bell? Seriously, c’mon now.

    Also, I think one aspect of this that is totally being missed in discussions is that social media doesn’t have to be this way. Social media is a cloud based service because companies want it to be but consumers would be better served by distributed peer to peer services. The “cloud” is just somebody else’s computer. You can use your own computer for social media. Nobody is calling out decisions that were used by companies to create a service for themselves to prey upon consumers? Why? Why can’t consumers have social media services that benefit them? Why is the choice one of having a social media presence or not having one? What if your business and income depends on a social media presence?

    • Smingles says:

      “Yeah, sure Google has it’s Google+ but fb has essentially become a monopoly. There is a way to deal with monopolies. You break them up.”

      What does it have a monopoly on?

      Facebook could be classified as an advertising company (based on revenues), or “internet” company, and in either of those categories it doesn’t have anything close to resembling a monopoly.

      “Social media” is not an industry, by the way. And Facebook is free.

      If you were to break it up, you’d defeat the whole appeal of Facebook, which is that virtually everyone is on that one platform. It’s a “social network,” you want everything and everyone aggregated in one place.

      • Michael Fiorillo says:

        Facebook is “free” because we’re the products being sold, not the customers.

        And both Facebook, or something like, and Google should be turned into public utilities, and kept on a short leash.

    • Rates says:

      How do you break up Facebook? Will it be along state lines, country lines, race lines, political lines? Or will it be something like LinkedIn?

      “What if your business and income depends on a social media presence?”

      Yves in NakedCapitalism said this best: “if your business relies on a platform, you don’t have a business.”

      Same thing: if your friendship and other relationships rely on a platform, you have neither friends nor relationships.

      Give that gray matter a whirl, it might do you some good, but I suppose you’ll stew, jump to Netflix, buy some shit at Amazon and will forget all this by dinner.

      • Al says:

        Yes, Yves has been disappointing me over at Naked Capitalism lately too. I’m referring to the, “if your business relies on a platform, you don’t have a business.” quote. It’s obtuse.

        If you’re not on fb, then you’re trying to discuss a movie that you haven’t seen. If you are on fb but don’t see its value, then I can’t help you. I’m not here to defend fb. I think it’s a horrible company but unfortunately, like with Microsoft, they are now ubiquitous and there’s no alternative. In fact, it’s so much worse than Microsoft’s Windows hold on the market.

  50. AG says:

    IMO, one of our finest classic films, “Bonnie and Clyde,” (1967) had a scene which could sum up the motivation for all social network members and bloggers. And maybe the rest of us. It’s when Clyde reads a poem Bonnie wrote about him, which got published in the newspaper. He reads it and tells her:

    “You know what you done there? You told my story. You told my whole story right there. Right there. One time I told you I was gonna make you somebody. That’s what you done for me. You made me somebody they gonna remember.”

  51. c smith says:

    CA was a bunch of charlatans selling snake-oil to gullible politicians. The only “story” here is the general public waking up to Facebook’s true business model.

  52. C Jones says:

    And how do you fancy this Zuckerberg guy becoming president as was the rumour? Fancy owning a Facebook account when the President is the owner? Lol

    • Duke De Guise says:

      Zuckerberg as President?

      Somehow I don’t think a multi-billionaire head of a surveillance company (which ever more people will come to understand between now and 2020) who comes across as Cyborg-ish and is unable to speak without uttering the same cliches over and over (‘We’re building community”…” ) is going to go over too well after Donnie’s act is over.

  53. Bill says:

    I don’t like to be “owned’ by anything or anybody. I found that I was checking FB several dozen times a day and then I realized that it “owned” me. Same with Instagram, albeit on a lesser level. I broke free about 8 months ago. At first, i was worried that i would be missing something. Wrong! It’s been wonderful. I have more time to read and or do whatever I want rather than feeling the compulsion find out the most inane information about all of my “friends”. The people who are my real friends are still connected via email ,voice telephone or actual physical presence.

    • AG says:

      Like most FB users, you were addicted. Which is why ex-Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya says that most social media Is ‘Ripping Apart’ Society.

      • Bill says:

        I agree. Like many things may not be a problem for some, but for others, they can be a real problem when control becomes an issue. For me, the best path to follow when facing a possibly addictive issue is to follow Monty Pyton’s advice and “runaway, run away!” :-)

    • SusanB says:

      Yes. This is exactly why I stopped. I have not deleted my account yet but I decided in late 2017 that I had had enough. Just a mere 7 years ago (when the “like” button was invented, in 2011) I was not obligated to spend most of my day “like”ing, “love”ing, commenting on everyone’s thought, meal, accomplishment on a daily, even hourly basis. I was not forced to go on people’s vacations with them, and having to validate their dream trip in real time while they post photos (rather than enjoying the experience of getting away from it tall) and dutifully acknowledging each and every photo.

      My family and many friends continue to gleefully participate in this forced social madness all day, every day. They start their day on Facebook, they end their day on Facebook. If I am left behind socially because I flat out refuse to participate in this collective sickness, then so be it. I’ll be the one taking walks in nature *not* checking my phone frantically every two minutes, I’ll be the one enjoying a leisurely meal with no device bleeping at me because my “friend” posted an inane update, I’ll be reading a book, I’ll be watching a sunset without needing to “share” the photo, I’ll be at a concert enjoying the music without taping it with my phone, and I’ll be going out with friends without feel the need to “share” where I am.

      Life without Facebook= Freedom!

  54. Dharmabum1323 says:

    I really hate to be the one defending the current popular evil Facebook, but I find their service invaluable. Thanks to them, I’m now back in touch with friends I lost track of many years ago. On their platform I can quickly and efficiently maintain conversations with friends all over the country. I can share my photos and my opinions and invite the response of people I care about. And that steady stream of pictures of the grandkids is worth a lot. Those features of Facebook are one of the good things about the connected age we live in, and the dangers that go along with that are just the price we pay. I think the odds of my coming to personal harm from having my data accumulated and used as a revenue stream are still quite small, and at this time it seems worth the risk. Just a feature of the world we live in. There are always dangers — and now that the risk of being eaten by a tiger is pretty small, I have to worry about being shot dead by the police, or run over by a self-driving bus. Data accumulation is just another bad thing that’s out there. Just be careful, keep your eyes open, and try not to do anything stupid.

    • Rates says:

      If they are “friends”, how did you lose them in the first place? Did you misplace them somewhere and just remember you have them? Ah you mean acquaintances? Like people who will like your posts, but won’t lift a finger if you are in trouble? Or is that your definition of “friends”? It’s hard to tell nowadays. FakeNews, FakeFriends, it’s all Fake.

      I think the concept of friends predated Facebook, but then again I might have a FakeUnderstanding.

      • Seen it all before, Bob says:

        I feel the same way as Dharmabum1323.

        I had friends, roommates, classmates, co-workers in about 5 different cities over the course of my life. They were friends and we met regularly when I lived in the same city. My job has taken me away from them and I still consider them friends.

        Facebook allows me to stay connected with all of them. It allows me to see where they are working, how their kids are growing, and when they plan a trip to where I am living now, it allows them to easily arrange a visit. Facebook allows us to stay closer than E-mails, a yearly holiday card, etc.

        Facebook provides a platform to stay close to people you care about.

      • Silly Me says:

        I couldn’t agree more. Hitting 60, I did manage to keep in touch with the few friends I have ever had. We are staying in touch without an exhibitionist allure. Human relationships are always personal and, occasionally, they work.

        Moreover, if I did need to find an old acquaintance, the phone register usually did the trick. When it didn’t, I suffered no major loss, because I always managed not to lose touch with friends.

  55. Steve M says:

    You got 140 comments (and counting) about Facebook. I now understand the company’s success.
    If I got a 140 letters about something I do, whether they loved it or hated it, I’d know I was doing something right.

    But I look at it this way;
    If I called someone on the phone and was aasured that somebody else was listening in, or
    If I wrote a letter and was guaranteed that the postmaster would open and read it, or
    If I just started whispering into a person’s ear and someone leaned in to eavesdrop,
    Would I continue to use the service?
    And if so, how would I use it?

    • Seen it all before, Bob says:

      Good point.

      I may give out my SSN number or credit card number on the phone or in a mail to my bank since I know nobody is listening or reading.

      I would never do that on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, E-mail or a meeting at a local coffee shop with friends.

      I treat Facebook the same as if I was meeting friends and acquaintances at a local coffee shop for morning coffee to chat. It should be treated as a social meeting and not a place to reveal dark secrets or financial information.

      Facebook is no more evil or revealing than meeting for coffee with friends.

      You just have to be careful what you reveal.

  56. Naser says:

    One reason people use Facebook is to meet online, as a small community business. Never used it but a had a suggestion to join; I declined. Of course, only a few people put their real personal information.

  57. mean chicken says:

    FB is obscene, I bet your insurance company pays for that data.

  58. R Davis says:

    Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame & why not, you only live once, why shouldn’t the world know you exist, seeing as you are here.
    Look at the stunts some persons pull to get global recognition.
    The worst that can happen, is that no one is interested & let’s face it, 30 minutes after your gorgeous self was served at the store, no one remember ever having seen you – all.
    Everyone is paying for the privilege, consumer participation & the economy runs.

  59. ML says:

    FB rejected my attempt at registration because it didn’t like my email. So I went onto Twitter after a few months I had attracted 96 followers including a few people I know in real life. I deleted my T account and went over to Linkedin. That was just as tedious so I quit social media completely. And now spend my time deleting HTML5 local storage files from my computer, along with database files and unwanted cookies.

    I value my privacy and respect others’ privacy too. I am also entrusted with confidences.

    I think most FBookers won’t delete or deactivate their accounts because they probably don’t think they are and what they think and own etc important or special enough. Also as others have said it is a useful medium for keeping in touch with what was eaten for breakfast!

  60. Michael Gorback says:

    On the internet if it’s free you’re not the customer. You’re the product being sold.

  61. cn13 says:

    Facebook is for middle-aged narcissistic losers. No one cares where you went on vacation or how your kids are doing in school.

    I am actually surprised FB has lasted as long as it has. As the article mentioned, younger people do not use FB. It is a dying brand.

    My kids and their friends have nothing to do with it.

Comments are closed.