Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress again today to finish off a second day of questioning on Capitol Hill. His appearance was voluntary and came as a result of the recent Cambridge Analytica data breach that saw the loss of 80 million plus Facebook users’ data.
Zuckerberg was questioned on a number of issues challenging Facebook including data usage, selling user data, privacy, the societal value of Facebook, Facebook’s political stance and how they censor outlets based on their political stance.
One of the longest running theories about Facebook was that it would collect information from your verbal conversations via your phone’s microphone while you have your phone on or around you. You likely experienced the following before: You are having a conversation with friends about a very specific brand, specific product and so forth. Then suddenly you hop on Facebook, having not searched for that product or brand at all, now there is an ad for that very product in your newsfeed.
Logically one would think the only way for this to happen would be that they are analyzing trigger words in your conversations. That, or they are somehow tapped into your consciousness and gathering data that way.
Congressman Larry Bucsh asked Zuckerberg on Wednesday whether or not Facebook does in fact mine data via your personal conversations using your phones microphone.
“My understanding is that a lot of these cases that you’re talking about are a coincidence,” Zuckerberg told Congress. This answer did not seem to go over so well based on the look on Bucsh’s face. Not just that, how could this truly explain the frequency and incredible accuracy of this phenomenon.
Zuckerberg was asked the question on both days of questioning as it has been one of the major questions surrounding Facebook spying. Still Zuckerberg stated that it was a “conspiracy theory,” and denied the practice with a flat “no.” He went on to say that he doesn’t know of any company using this tactic. Except for maybe the NSA? We know this tech exists, the question is does Facebook use it and are they willing to admit it?
Was he telling the truth? Does one even need to tell the truth during these types of hearings? While some of us think yes, in fact they don’t. And in many cases people have lied for us only to find out the truth a short time after.
Let’s not forget that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress the NSA does not “wittingly” spy on Americans. And yet only a few months later whistleblower Edward Snowden showed the entire world that the NSA was doing just that.
When it comes to news and information censorship, Facebook routinely does this to protect their own political position. We have seen this first hand when we share content that challenges Facebook’s own ideologies. Regardless of the fact our journalistic process uses facts, sources and proof that are well founded, Facebook views this as threatening information. Censorship has been intense from our perspective.
Reflecting On Why This Is Important
In December of 2017 I released an article stating Facebook would go through a deep awakening in 2018 due to the fact that their platform seems to be in need of a shift. Users are clearly unhappy and the social media giant has been using manipulative psychological tactics to prey on its users in order to keep them using the platform.
During a time where humanity’s consciousness is shifting so dramatically, this type of behaviour from companies won’t go unnoticed and people will begin to figure out what’s going on. Not only that, in a natural course of action companies will in essence ‘be outed’ for the things that aren’t in alignment with humanity truly thriving.
I feel this spotlight on Facebook is actually inspiring to see. While on one hand we can say it’s politics and congress trying to decide if they need to step in and help regulate, and on another hand dirty dealings, lies and deceit are coming to the surface in what is like a great unveiling where humanity can now reflect upon itself and what it does.
Is Facebook still of value to our daily lives when they do only what’s in the best interest of their business and not the user experience? Should we be spending so much time on a platform using tactics to manipulate us?
The barrage of ‘bad press’ for Facebook has been tough as they are losing users in the millions every month. In the end we learn another valuable lesson from this, when we, or companies, do things that don’t benefit the whole, our day or ‘reckoning,’ if you will, comes. What I mean by this is, as humanity we have to learn to do things that truly favor all involved or that do not harm nor take advantage of others simply for our individual benefit. This is a lesson being seen on the macrocosm but applies to the micro as well.
In your day, do you find yourself taking advantage of others? Running your business or your plans to benefit yourself more so than others? Why do you find yourself doing this? I believe we can all turn what we see in the ‘real world’ into an internal reflection for ourselves as well.