Mar 26, 2018

In Facebook We Trust



This week Facebook has been brought to its knees, thanks to the revelations concerning its relationship with Cambridge Analytica. Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica to access the personal information of over 50 million users on its site. This data was used to create targeted ads and propaganda that aided the Trump presidential campaign back in 2016. Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has grovelled and apologised to the public, saying he was "really sorry this happened" and "it was a mistake". But this "mistake" is not just a breach in millions of peoples privacy; it is a signal to the public of the increasing value of data. Last year The Economist published an article claiming that "data is the new oil", describing the growing worth of data for the giants of media and technology- Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Google. These companies have access to billions of peoples' personal information- information that is now being turned into a commodity. Advertising companies are willing to pay extraordinarily high prices for the chance to bombard consumers with highly targeted ads. Holding the data of billions of consumers also gives these companies the advantage over their competition. The companies can see what consumers search for, what they share and what they buy. The companies have an unrivaled network telling them what consumers want, enabling them to be the first to meet consumer demand. Facebook's slip up should be a wake up call to the world. A few companies now hold the data of most of the world's population- and that has become a dangerous commodity.

New Posts
  • Lawrence Sung
    2 days ago

    I came across this chart while searching up media neutrality: It got me thinking--is there even such a thing as unbiased media? To that, I say no. Every human being grows up in a different set of circumstances and is exposed to unique stimuli that contribute to the development of a person's personality and beliefs. Over time, those solidify as one constantly uses them as a framework through which one interprets the environment around them. Thus, no matter how hard people try to be neutral when disseminating information, there will always be a slight bias towards one region of the political plane (I prefer not to use the spectrum notion since it generalizes too many political traits) because of the built-up habit of using one's belief system and personality to analyze the world. Is this bad? Absolutely not. In fact, I think that this is great for democracy! With the notion of media neutrality gone, news agencies are free to express their own opinions about the world around them. Furthermore, the power of interpreting the media no longer is in the hands of the media themselves; rather, the democratization of media will allow the people the chance to interpret both sides of the news, for once, and will grow the public's ability to think for themselves. Thus the common people will be liberated from the vices of a monotonous press.
  • Grace McCollum
    Mar 29

    When the news broke of Jussie Smollet being an alleged victim of a hate crime many Americans were horrified of the alleged attack. They quickly jumped to his side and publicly supported him. He was seen as this black innocent gay man that was targeted because of those reasons. The public felt sympathy for him. The alleged attack touched many individuals and he was shown as a survivor. As new evidence broke that the attack could have been staged many Americans publicly bashed him and were horrified. Influencers were making public statements against Smollet. He was painted in the media as a horrible man when he was claiming he was a victim of a serious hate crime. Jussie was cleared of 16 accounts and never had to go through a trial. This event shows how much the media can play a role in peoples opinions. Should we believe people are innocent until proven guilty or let the media influence our serious opinions?
  • Lena
    Jan 23

    This past weekend I watched not one but two Fyre Festival documentaries and have been fascinated about the situation. Fyre Festival was supposed to be a luxury music festival in the Bahamas and was promoted heavily by “influencers” like Kendall Jenner (who was paid $250,000 for a single Instagram post). The actual festival was incredibly unorganized and featured tents and poorly-made sandwiches instead of luxurious accommodations. While this certainly negatively impacted all of the festival-goers who paid lots of money to be there, one documentary also touched on the festival’s impact on the Bahamas. Many workers were employed and not paid, especially one caterer (who has since had a GoFundMe) who lost many savings to prepare for Fyre Festival. Should social media “influencers” be responsible for promoting deceitful or low quality products to their followers?