Facebook is an unregulated private intelligence agency

The New York Times has an article on Facebook’s tracking and data collection patents worth reading by everyone who uses the internet, which obviously includes you if you’re reading this. Their review reveals that Facebook “has considered tracking almost every aspect of its users’ lives: where you are, who you spend time with, whether you’re in a romantic relationship, which brands and politicians you’re talking about. The company has even attempted to patent a method for predicting when your friends will die.”

I don’t have a problem with Facebook operating as a social network, even though it’s a lousy one that traps and isolates users. I do have a problem with it allowing Russia and other malevolent powers to influence elections. The biggest problem with Facebook is fundamental to its design and the key to how it makes money: Facebook is a private intelligence agency that operates without the legal oversight and constraints of government agencies. It’s a corporation concerned solely with maximizing profits, which it does by continually increasing the scope and depth of information gathering against its users and anyone else it can track. The cost of using Facebook, or allowing Facebook to track you, is surrendering your personal information to a corporation that will sell that information to virtually anyone who will pay for it.

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