That Mainstream Media Isn’t Understanding Facebook

From our special correspondent, Wessex Man:

The New York Times tells us:

Debates over privacy have plagued Facebook for years. But the news that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm that worked on President Trump’s 2016 campaign, was able to gain access to private data through the social network has sparked an unusually strong reaction among its users.

The hashtag #DeleteFacebook appeared more than 10,000 times on Twitter within a two-hour period on Wednesday, according to the analytics service ExportTweet. On Tuesday, it was mentioned 40,398 times, according to the analytics service Digimind.

The MSM is currently obsessed with Trump and all the machinery that got him elected. There are 2 drivers behind this obsession. Trump isn’t their sort of person. He’s boorish, unrefined and opposes many of their values. Historically, they’ve been able to filter people like Trump out, so this shouldn’t have happened. To the MSM, the only way this could have happened was by cheating, rather than innovative use of technology to bypass the MSM. Secondly, there is a relentless desire of all journalists to be the next Woodward and Bernstein and get a Watergate, even when it’s likely to be a false trail.

They also, to some extent, would like to harm social media. This is hardly surprising as they’re in competition and people sharing garbage on Facebook and Twitter is crowding out people printing garbage in newspapers and on TV. Also, they perceive social media as enabling various people that they disapprove of, like Trump and Jordan Peterson thus they scaremonger about them.

I visited Facebook today just to catch up with friends and family and no-one has left. No-one is complaining about what is going on. When the NYT talk of an unusually strong reaction, it’s worth mentioning that there are 2.2bn active users on Facebook. Twitter hashtags and Facebook users don’t exactly correlate. Some people aren’t on both, some people might leave without tweeting, but on the other hand, some of those might be people using it to say that they left years ago, or suggesting others leave, or even spambots. But I certainly don’t think a ratio of 1/50000th of the user base is a “strong reaction”.

Apart from the fact that the story itself is unravelling – Obama did similar things, Cambridge Analytica didn’t actually do much for Trump – I think what the MSM have missed is how little most people care about Facebook privacy. People avoid posting nude selfies or bank account details. It’s reviews of movies or local pubs, photos out with the kids. They care very little about that stuff, so how much is anyone going to care about an anonymous survey going from one marketing company to another?

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Spike
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News reports routinely identify Cambridge Analytica as “connected to the Trump campaign.” That’s it, Trump hacked private user data from Facebook, which no one needs to actually prove.

Facebook has used its users’ data as a political weapon, and is only outraged now because it was misused by the wrong side.

So certain users got Trump campaign ads. Compare the misfeasance at Equifax and Wells Fargo. The Facebook story has legs only because the networks can use it to reinforce the notion that Trump’s election was somehow illegitimate.

jgh
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jgh

I’ve been involved in elections, as has our host, and mining data is a fundamental part of election campaigns. Only the most incomeptent of election campaigns sets off with the intention of undertaking the greatest amount of work to gain the results. You use whatever data you have on the people with votes to optimise your workload to the smallest to get the greatest amount of result for the work put in. I’ve spent two decades talking to people who have votes, and then making notes of their opinions so I can later decide whether to later on remind them… Read more »

Gamecock
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Gamecock

Like many I am grateful to the Guardian newspaper for its work on Cambridge Analytica. Its expose of the use of data trawled from Facebook to seek to subvert choice in elections is well worth another year’s voluntary payments, however much I get annoyed by the paper on occasion. But in amongst all the issues raised I want to point out the big one that is not being stated clearly enough. The challenge to democracy that the Guardian has exposed does not come from Russia. Nor is the issue particular to Cambridge Analytica. And I doubt it is peculiar to… Read more »

Spike
Member

In length and content, this is most likely a Murphy copypaste than a reply from Gamecock.

Chester Draws
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Chester Draws

Nope, not buying.

I need to see another successful alternative before we ditch the current model. We all know it has flaws. But nothing evenly remotely better is on offer.

It’s like a person ranting that there’s not enough resources on this planet and we should move to another planet. Correct, but useless.

Pat
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Pat

Plus for a user advertising is a service- how else does Joe Soap find out what’s on offer, be it goods, services or politics. And seeing adverts for things one has an interest in is better than seeing adverts for things one has no interest in.
The complaints about targeted advertising seem to come from those who can’t do it plus those whose stuff doesn’t sell.

Steve
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Steve

2012: OBAMA IS MINING FACEBOOK DATA AND HERE’S WHY THAT’S AWESOME AND COOL:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/17/obama-digital-data-machine-facebook-election

2018: HALP! EVIL DONALD TRUMP MINED FACEBOOK DATA!!!1!

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/21/cambridge-analytica-facebook-exploited-trust?CMP=fb_gu

Spike
Member

Yup, if these guys didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all. Obama also “mined” the IRS, imposing on nonprofit organizations with “Tea Party” or similar in their names the costs of proving they merited nonprofit status, including disclosure of contributors’ names (which surely made contributions dry up right before the 2012 re-election). Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

Mr Ecks
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Mr Ecks

Only to be expected from the scum of the left Steve.

How much contradiction and hypocrisy has that fat slug Richard Murphy flung in the reading public’s faces over the years.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

How Guardian readers’ minds* work: people have voted in ways of which I don’t personally approve; this cannot be because I am woefully out of touch with how most people see the world; therefore it must be the result of interference by pesky Rooskies/evil businesses exploiting ‘big data’/lizard-people from Venus**.

* I use the term in its loosest possible sense
** delete whichever is inapplicable

Southerner
Guest

If you own a business and you want more customers, you use Google Ads or Facebook Ads. They both have what we used to call a mailing list, which is finely divided demographically so that you don’t waste money contacting consumers who probably won’t buy your product or service. You also avoid peeing off customers who don’t want to see your ads.

The concept has been around for yonks and I’m struggling to see where Facebook crossed a line here. Is the Don the first politician who ever used social media in an election campaign?

James in NZ
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James in NZ

I use Facebook regularly – it is a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family who are dotted around the world. I don’t, however, pay to use Facebook; yet Facebook appears to make money and remain in business. This means that somebody else is Facebook’s customer and my meagre and occasional drivellings, Facebook’s product. I have absolutely no problem with this whatsoever. I’m getting something that I value in return for giving up something that I don’t value as much. The only reason that the mainstream media and a bunch of screaming lefties even care about this… Read more »

BenS
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BenS

“Facebook has used its users’ data as a political weapon, and is only outraged now because it was misused by the wrong side.”

Exactly. And, as they say “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product”. Our data is worth money, and apparently revealed preferences show that most people think the trade-off is worth it.

Spike
Member

American talk host Erick Erickson makes those same points today, also the one above that the media is hyping this mainly as another excuse to de-legitimize Trump: https://townhall.com/columnists/erickerickson/2018/03/23/another-excuse-to-avoid-blaming-hillary-clinton-n2463698