Breaking down the Facebook Hysteria

Michael Ziebarth

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Facebook has been all over the news this week for several different issues that have recently come to light. Concerns have been raised about other companies gaining access to Facebook data of users and of course the evil Russian bots that apparently decided our election. Zuckerberg took questions from lawmakers this last week to address these concerns. 

The first concern that has been raised is how Facebook collects and uses the data of users. Facebook harvests the data of users and using that to sell higher value, more targeted ads to advertisers. They use AI and various algorithms to collect information on each user and allow advertisers to target people with certain characteristics. 

Consumer data mining is rampant across the business world and people are upset at Facebook because they are the best at it. They are worth $500 billion and all they really have is a giant user base and data on every user. We shouldn’t be surprised that they make money off our data. If you really have an issue with it, then you shouldn’t be on the platform. 

The second concern came to light when it was reported that the data of 87 million users was accessed and used by Cambridge Analytica which did work for the Trump Campaign. It started when a marketing firm named CubeYou created a quiz app that tied into the user’s Facebook account. This allowed it to collect data of users and their friends.  

In the CubeYou terms and conditions, that no one reads, it states that they may sell any user data that is collected. Cambridge Analytica wanted info on Americans to make pro Trump marketing campaigns more effective so they bought this data which is how they got the data of 87 million people. 

For the 2012 election, the Obama 2012 Campaign app tied in with user’s Facebook accounts. This app collected data of users and users Facebook friends. This app was downloaded 1 million plus times. It’s pretty safe to say that most of those 1 million people had at least 100 friends. This would expose the data of 100 million people but likely to have been far more.

With Facebook, businesses can collect your data if you give them permission. This typically happens when you link your Facebook account to another app. Businesses are no longer allowed to collect data of your friends without their permission which is what Cambridge Analytica and the Obama 2012 campaign did.

Conservatives need to be concerned that the media and outrage cartel cares if Conservatives use business resources in their favor in an election but no one cares when leftists do the same thing. Action is only demanded when the benefit to conservatives needs to stop. Nevertheless, Facebook responded to pressure and rightfully changed the rules. 

The most pathetic concern about Facebook is about Russian bots and foreign actors using the platform to spread misinformation. 

This issue arose with reports of $100k in Facebook ads from Russian accounts posing as Americans that would put out misleading information to sway voters in the election. Facebook came out and confirmed this several weeks ago. This whole narrative is absolutely laughable since leftist outlets are basically claiming that all it takes is 20% of the MN Daily’s annual budget to swing a whole election for the most powerful position in the world. 

Then we get generic claims of a large scale Russian funded campaign over many years to promote Russian propaganda and sow discord in America. There was also tons of fake Russian-run Twitter and Facebook accounts that would retweet Trump’s account and spread various political messages on all sides. I am glad the media has finally reported what every mildly informed person has known forever; Russia wants to raise hell in America for its own benefit. They want to spread discontent and polarizing stories that drive Americans apart and make the country weaker overall. 

These little online campaigns can be compared with the constant extremely anti-Trump narrative that the leftist cartel media has been stuck on ever since he descended the escalator in the summer of 2015. Hillary had NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg, NPR, every major newspaper, Buzzfeed, Huff Post, Salon, Slate, Vox, Mother Jones, Media Matters, and dozens others, declare war against her opponent but it wasn’t enough. Now we are supposed to believe that if only the Russian bots were on her side too then she would have won. It is a pathetic argument even for the left. 

This leads into an overall discussion about how the content on Facebook should be policed. Zuckerburg told lawmakers that he wants to rid the site of all terrorist content and hate speech. Conservatives on campus know that when someone wants to ban hate speech, it is just a ploy to censor conservatives. Phrases like “Build the Wall” or saying there is only 2 genders can be considered hate speech and therefore deserve to be censored.  

Conservatives and libertarians should abandon the platform and any other social media network that does not stand up for the open market of ideas. Similar tactics are used by universities and other leftist institutions everyday and conservatives should not tolerate them. Also, to be honest it will only help us as people to waste less of our lives on social networks.