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OPLIN 4Cast #615: Can we keep turning a blind eye to Facebook?

Posted in 4cast, and Facebook

I think about quitting Facebook. A lot. There was a time in my life when I couldn’t imagine living without it, but that time is now long past. Not only do I imagine life without the social platform, I now outright fantasize about it. Articles about how to do it and accounts from those who have fascinate and tempt me constantly.

Yet, I’m still on Facebook. It’s become too convenient of a hub: not only do I connect to actual friends and family, but it’s also the (sometimes only) place where I can get communications about parenting, hobbies, my son’s school activities and far more.  I often feel that quitting Facebook would be the social equivalent of putting on a tin foil hat and then hiding under a rock. I literally would stop receiving information I actually need. It’s amazing how much of my life has condensed to one online location.

Last week, Facebook had a massive security breach: the accounts of at least 50 million users were compromised. It’s hard to get especially upset about this kind of thing anymore; security incidents have become the tech news du jour and rarely have the emotional impact they probably should. While this was big news, it was not the only thing going on with the Facebook ecosystem…and most of those things probably won’t make you (or me) feel any better.

  • Facebook sued for allegedly enabling human trafficking [Engadget] “The complaint says Facebook ‘has continually been used to facilitate human trafficking by allowing sex traffickers an unrestricted platform to stalk, exploit, recruit, groom, recruit and extort children into the sex trade. Facebook is now the first point of contact between sex traffickers and these children… Facebook not only provides an unrestricted platform for these sex traffickers to target children, but it also cloaks the traffickers with credibility.'”
  • Are you kidding me, Facebook [Gizmodo] “Here’s what that means. When a user tries to delete their Facebook, the site holds on to all of their data for a period of time in case they decide they want to come back. That used to be 14 days, and now it is conveniently a month, right around the same time users might be getting antsy that hackers were able to get past the site’s core security measures.”
  • Facebook, are you kidding? [TechCrunch] “As many users are looking for ways to compartmentalize or scale back their reliance on Facebook, the company has invited itself into the home. Portal is voice activated, listening for a cue-phrase (in this case “Hey Portal) and leverages Amazon’s Alexa voice commands, as well. The problem is that plenty of users are already creeped out enough by Alexa’s always-listening functionality and habit of picking up snippets of conversation from the next room over. It may have the best social graph in the world, but in 2018 people are looking to use Facebook for less — not more.”
  • Instagram Tests Feature That Shares Your Location History With Facebook [Gizmodo] “TechCrunch reports that Instagram has explored a new setting that enables the app to share users’ GPS coordinates with Facebook, which could allow Facebook to know Instagram users’ location even when they’re not using the app. Such data could possibly be used for targeted ads and content.”

From the Ohio Web Library: