Tag: Facebook

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I did it. I finally did it. I started a Facebook argument (a short one, admittedly) with a fair-trade co-op worker. The tussle began when a formerly libertarian high-school friend of mine decided to write an apologetic post about his white privilege. Usually, I ignore Facebook and its associated political gobbledygook. But this piece sent […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Frontal Assault on Social Media


To all appearances, the folks in charge of privacy regulation within the European Union are unfamiliar with that old cliché, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Last week, the EU parliament passed a long-anticipated and much-dreaded privacy law known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a lengthy and convoluted document that is replete with vague substantive commands accompanied by hefty penalties for violation. The implicit assumption behind the regulation is that all individuals are entitled to control data about themselves, so that various firms that acquire this information not only have to hold it secure against outsiders, but are also limited in how they can use the data, while granting individual users extensive rights to access, control, and remove their personal data. The GDPR regime is not content to let these important issues be resolved by private contract. But the new regulation fails a simple test: It does not identify any breakdown in the current institutional arrangements to justify its massive oversight in the way in which individual data is managed by all sorts of organizations and firms.

No fair-minded person thinks it’s appropriate to allow strangers to hack into databases, public or private, or to deliver hacked data to others who can then use that data to defraud or defame innocent people. Right now, a robust, multi-layered regime of legal, political, economic, and social enforcement within the EU targets firms who are perceived to violate these norms. Yet there is scant justification for piling an additional massive regulatory scheme on top of the current mix of public and private remedies. Consider the fate of Cambridge Analytica, a firm that misused for political purposes data that it had acquired under false pretenses from Facebook during the 2016 presidential campaign. Cambridge Analytica recently shut down, undone by a “siege of media coverage.” Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, has been hauled over the coals repeatedly in both the United States and in Europe because the systems Facebook had in place were insufficient to protect against misuse. Zuckerberg responded with more robust solutions to satisfy its huge customer base, lest Facebook lose its dominant market position and the billions in revenue its users generate.

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Even New York Magazine finds an acorn now and then. And this interview with Silicon Valley lifer Jaron Lanier on the social failings of the Internet generally and Social Media in particular is one such. It’s a true Read The Whole Thing. I’ve had a nodding acquaintance with Lanier for three decades, encountering him at […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Washington’s Bipartisan War On Federalism


The scowling face of the State

With all the talk about America’s vanishing consensus, there remains one major issue which both sides of the aisle are in full agreement: the urgent need to yoke one’s political agenda to the awesome power of the federal government.

Want to know if you can keep your doctor? What about your lightbulb? Your same-sex spouse? Your weed? Better consult with Washington.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Unintended Consequences of Ending the Internet’s Grand Bargain


Is the Facebook kerfuffle really about privacy? Or is there something more fundamental happening here? I’ve written previously about my skepticism that people really value digital privacy as much as the media or activist groups suggest they do. And if Facebook doesn’t see an exodus of users after the Cambridge Analytica maelstrom, that will be a powerful bit of evidence my instincts are correct.

Another bit of evidence is the study “How Consumers Value Digital Privacy: New Survey Evidence, Program on Economics & Privacy” by Caleb Fuller, assistant professor of economics at Grove City College and a faculty affiliate at George Mason University Law School’s Program on Economics and Privacy. After conducting a survey of 1,579 internet users, Fuller found that “85% are unwilling to pay anything for privacy on Google.” And of the 15% of Google users willing to pay, the median was around “a paltry $20 per year.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. On Facebook, Regulation, and Unintended Consequences


Among my takeaways from Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg’s whirlwind Washington tour is that Congress thinks the status quo is unsustainable. Of course some politicians might think the “status quo” is the data privacy reality before the pre-Cambridge Analytica scandal. But the social media platform has announced a number of steps to tighten things up since then.

Yet none of those voluntary measures will stop legislators from trying to push new rules on Facebook. As Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, told Zuckerberg:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Left Thinks Mark Zuckerberg Escaped Danger in Congress. The Right Sees It Very Differently.


Facebook doesn’t seem any closer to data privacy regulation, much less getting broken up, after CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s two-day visit to Capitol Hill than before he came. That’s why Facebook stock rose so sharply during Zuckerberg’s testimony to the Senate and House. Investors saw the same thing everyone did: A smart, if slightly robotic, corporate chieftain easily answering or swatting away questions from tech-illiterate politicians. If Congress has only a tenuous grasp of how the social media platform’s ad-driven business model works, it’s probably not very likely Democrats and Republicans can agree on significant new rules constraining it anytime soon.

But as Team Facebook analyzes their boss’s performance, they should give special focus to his questioning by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Cruz used his five minutes to grill Zuckerberg about his concern that “Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship.” Among the examples Cruz cited: Facebook suppressing conservative stories from trending news in 2016, temporarily shutting down a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day page in 2012, and blocking the Facebook page of President Trump supporters and video bloggers Diamond and Silk.

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Twitter agrees with “calls for “civil war,” the destruction of the GOP, and the adoption of how California runs everything from sea to shining sea”. Facebook is being all facebooky with Black Trump supporters Diamond and Silk calling them, and it’s hard not to type this without laughing “unsafe for the community“. They’re provocative, verbose (at least Diamond […]

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T.S. Eliot deemed April “the cruelest month,” but for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg it’s been March with the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that’s cast doubt on the fabled “social network.” Niall Ferguson, the Hoover Institution’s Milbank Family Senior Fellow and a frequent author on technology and Silicon Valley’s prominence, examines the perils of “hyperconnection.” Has Zuckerberg fulfilled George Orwell’s vision of a society of addicted to an all-knowing, all-watching telescreen?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Some Thoughts About Facebook, Regulation, and Trade-offs


So Mark Zuckerberg is “actually not sure we shouldn’t be regulated.” The cynical take on that statement is that the Facebook founder and CEO is merely acquiescing to the inevitable and even realizes that regulation might actually help Facebook cement its market dominance. A big, successful business with tremendous financial resources has the ability to a) weather a regulatory storm and b) through lobbying influence the regulatory environment to its advantage.

Before Washington takes rash action against Facebook or other Big Tech companies, policymakers should think hard about the potential unintended consequences for competition and innovation. To start with the ridiculous — but something being mentioned on the Twitters — why not nationalize Facebook? Let the US Postal Service run it! Great idea if you want Facebook to be stuck in amber, never to improve or innovate. And what upstart would be allowed to compete against this new National Champion company? There’s also that $100 billion check taxpayers would be writing to Zuckerberg personally, unless we’re talking property confiscation. Moving on . . .

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see FBI Director Christopher Wray conclude there was no political agenda at work in the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. They also react to Facebook’s weak explanation for how user data ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica and Jim details how the right and left are furious with social media outlets for very different reasons. And they shake their heads as HUD Sec. Ben Carson tells lawmakers his wife helped pick out the $31,000 dining set after he had rejected expensive furniture.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hair Salon Owner in Iowa Fights Back Against Liberal Attacks


Ivanka Trump was making an appearance in Des Moines and she went to a local hair salon to have her hair done. When some other patrons of this salon heard about Ms. Trump’s visit, they responded the way you would expect. They initiated a social media storm, calling for a boycott of the salon and swearing never to go there again. Fortunately, the salon owner did not yield to the crap being thrown at her.

Any Ricochet members who live in the Des Moines area, check out Salon Spa W and give Ms. China Wong kudos for her response to the Facebook slam.

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On Facebook, my husband posted a meme of Hitler holding the hands of children with a quote bubble of “Now children, tell zem to ban ze guns.” For doing this, my husband was banned from Facebook for 24 hours. So, I re-posted it with the following “Facebook banned my husband for sharing a picture of […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Net Neutrality Gave Us Shadow Banning


Where are the liberal free speech advocates? Conservative thought is being silenced. Silicon Valley’s powerful programmers are hiding voices with which they politically disagree by using statist-like media restrictions not dissimilar from North Korea. Kim Jong Un approves. Just this week we saw two new examples:

Project Veritas latest investigation demonstrates Twitter’s shadow banning of conservative accounts:

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Are Social Media Platforms Tearing Apart Society’s Social Fabric?


Chamath Palihapitiya, one of the early Facebook software engineers tasked a year after its founding with growing Facebook’s user base, warns that Facebook, in which he claims he has only posted on his own account less than 10 times in seven years, and other social media platforms are destroying how society works. Palihapitiya cautions that the dopamine effect of instant gratification with receiving likes encourages addiction to Facebook and other platforms. By the way, please “Like” this post because I need to know you like me … you really like me.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Rusty Humphries: Bad Boys Get Spanked


Rusty HumphriesRusty Humphries returns to Whiskey Politics to discuss news personalities, politicians, and power brokers being outed as molesters, gropers, and general pervs. We also touch on Facebook filtering conservative posts, Net Neutrality, holiday movies worth seeing, Matt Lauer, Mel Gibson, Roy Moore, and why Rusty thinks Al Franken has a legitimate shot running for president in 2020 (seriously).

Rusty is a multi-award-winning talk radio host, Strategic Advisor, Political Influencer, Trendsetter, #1 Bestselling Author, Media and Leadership Consultant/Speaker. His most recent book 7 Ways to Win Political Debates with your Liberal Family and Friends, and Still Keep Them as Family and Friends is now available at RustyLive.com and follow Rusty on Twitter @Talk2Rusty.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Oh, Brave New World! The Novel World of Big Data.


Last week @claire posed the question “What does Facebook know about us?” It is a worthy question, and one not easily answered. Facebook certainly can automatically glean a number of facts about us, but as her post demonstrates, that does not translate necessarily well into knowing us. Why else would she constantly receive ads for products in which she clearly has no interest? Ours is a brave new world of massive data gathering and data mining, where our personal profiles, in any form, are traded much as one would once have traded baseball cards. Yet for all its ubiquitous reach, this is still new, it is still novel, and it is still buggy, as I will relate below.

I have some direct experience as a customer of Google’s Ad Words program, though this experience is now somewhat dated. Six years ago I enrolled my company as a buyer of Google advertising. The program is fairly simple:

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Boy, we are living in an age of stupidity. This story is an argument in favor of that assertion. Online social media giant Facebook has initiated a pilot program in Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom in which users are asked to submit their intimate photos to Facebook and, in return, Facebook […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What’s the Upside of America Being Home to the Tech Giants?


As Tony “Iron Man” Stark once said, “Actually, [Captain America] is the boss. I just pay for everything and design everything and make everyone look cooler.” In a way, that is how I think about America’s tech giants. All they do is bring us great products and services while creating lots of jobs and wealth. That’s all. Europe would love to have them.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they didn’t mess up this Russian election interference thing. Nor does it mean they shouldn’t be regulated or reviewed by antitrust officials. Not at all. It’s just that they remain tremendous economic assets. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that, I guess.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Break Up Big Tech? It Wasn’t Long Ago That It Was “Break Up Walmart”


Before “Break up Big Tech,” there was “Break up the Big Banks.” And before that, “Break up Walmart.” Oh yeah, lots of interest among a certain group of activists in breaking up the giant retailer. In 2006, for instance, Washington wonk Barry Lynn wrote in Harper’s about “The Case for Breaking Up Wal-Mart” and then again “The Case for Breaking Up Walmart” in 2013 for Foreign Policy.

More recently, Lynn has been a leading proponent of cracking down on the megaplatforms such as Google and Facebook, though perhaps not necessarily breaking them up into smaller companies. But let’s not forget about Walmart, a company Lynn once described as having such vast power that it actually “subverts the functioning of the free market.”