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comment by goobster
goobster  ·  13 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 6, 2019

Weaning

I want to avoid virtue-signaling, so I am not mentioning this anywhere else, but it seems like I should mention it: I am devaluing my data for Facebook.

In effect, I am weaning myself off of it. Removing my data slowly. Removed the app. Will only be logging in from an Incognito Chrome browser from my laptop, which I only open about 2-3x per week.

The data people put into Facebook is being used actively in disinformation campaigns all over the world. By reducing the quality and quantity of my data, I make it less valuable. While also being able to manage the couple of groups I own on FB, and can't move elsewhere.

It feels like The Right Thing To Do: reduce the value of my data, and I reduce the effectiveness of Facebook's corrupting efforts on our democracy and social society.

I posted a flamey post today to get as many people to unfriend me as possible. Then I'll whittle down the photos, historical posts, friends, groups, followings, etc.

My FB profile will be (hopefully) a data graveyard. Which is more effective than just deleting an account, I think.





veen  ·  13 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'd argue it's not as effective as you hope it to be. Facebook cares primarily about who you are and about gathering eyeballs. They need very few data points for the first part - with just a few liked pages they can already group you in with similar people. It's all about lookalike audiences. Someone on HM figured out that while you can't target ads for illicit things, you can find out which pages are most similar to illicit things. Tirns out you can totally target weedheads by targeting 18-25 males who like Family Guy. What many people also don't know is that there's a very long list of companies that have already upload their customer's email and name to Facebook, so simply by virtue of having an email and name they already know a bunch about you.

Using the service less isn't gonna change that. You probably already have an ad blocker so you're practically worth little to them anyway.

goobster  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Different issues:

Facebook Itself: The product itself is not very good. Even with rigorous culling and grouping of friends and interests, the product works poorly at its most basic function: Showing me my friends' activity.

Facebook as a datamine: Numerous bad actors are culling FB data to build disinformation campaigns and targeting the weak with their fake constructions. Cambridge Analytica did this at a small scale, and we know they did everything from make up fake issues, to organize fake rallies around their fake issues, and got actual people to show up and protest their fake issue.

To do that, they need to scrape content from actual people and profiles to build plausible fake ones.

All you need to do to have this brought in to stark relief is have one of your photos show up as the profile on a fake alt-right FB account with 1400 friends and thousands of shares, to have a real come-to-jesus moment about your personal role in the fraud.

Like I did.

Who gives a flying fuck about advertising for tennis shoes, or makeup products. The issue is when they target 20 people within a 3 mile area, and 12 of them get riled up and show up to a rally about a completely made-up issue... and your face or activity or history may be used to validate those false accounts... that makes you personally culpable. Not legally, but definitely morally.

And my morals are better than that.

veen  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They're indeed different issues, but your original wording directly coupled the value of your data to the use of your data.

    I am devaluing my data for Facebook.

I was arguing that the monetary value of your data to Facebook won't decrease much by reducing your Facebook activity. You're (now) making the argument that the scraping and re-using of data is wrong and that you don't want to be involved in that. Which I'm not disagreeing with. But that isn't your value to Facebook, that's your value to Putin / 4chan / whatever hellspawn makes those pages. Your face now, sadly, helps convince gullible people of some argument that's never yours.

    that makes you personally culpable. Not legally, but definitely morally.

No, fuck that. You're powerless. You're collateral damage, the result of chance and big numbers that ostensibly lead to scraped, automated identity fraud. It's not your fault, it's the platform that shouldn't make automated fraud so goddamned easy.

Take another example: social security numbers. It is far too easy to get someone's number from some leak and use that to steal identities, solely because social security numbers in the US is the only personal identifier that is ubiquitous. That doesn't mean you are personally culpable of this shitty system. Maybe to the extent that you should let your congress(wo)man know about it, but other than that you are powerless.

goobster  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Good catch on the "devaluing" comment I made. I conflated "Facebook" the business and "Facebook" the tool for mining unsuspecting rube's data, into one thing, which clouded my intent.

I could give a flying fuck about Facebook The Business. It'll die just like MySpace did, eventually.

My issue is with bad actors culling data from Facebook to use in their nefarious actions; AKA, Facebook the iStock library for fake profile creators.

THOSE are the people I want to devalue my content for. I have ZERO power against them, and have zero tools to find out how/where they have used my information to con other people into believing their bullshit.

I was just fortunate that some Uzbek drone worker accidentally tried to friend me with a profile built from my own data. I reverse-mined their profile, went through all their friends and pages, and marked all of them as fraudulent, then marked their profile as pretending to be me. FB deleted it.

But it is one of hundreds of thousands of fake profiles actively maintained by the dezinformatsiya campaigns being run throughout Asia and the Russian provinces. How many others are leveraging my data to push their agendas using my face, activity, and 'personality'?

Nah. No more. I'm done with it.

Deleted the FB app from my phone, and have been online once every other day since then. Removed most of my photo galleries, and am in the process of unfollowing all books, pages, events, and deleting my posting history. It'll take time, but my data will slowly fade away, and as it gets older, it will lose relevance as well, so the data they already have will become less valuable over time. (I think...)

kleinbl00  ·  13 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'll echo veen's thoughts by suggesting that the true way to understand your value to Facebook is to go through the exercise of buying some ads. There's nothing secret about what they do or who they are; Cambridge Analytica wasn't doing much more than extraordinarily comprehensive A/B testing. You can't get the full Steve Bannon treatment as an ordinary citizen but you can discover just how easy it is to target Magic:The Gathering fans over 45 who listen to Rod Stewart within half a mile of your zip code.

goobster  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Cambridge Analytica created fake issues, targeted "news" and ads at a specific subset of people to get them riled up about those issues, and then had those people show up at a fake event to protest the fake issue they created.

They then taught the Russians how to do this at a conference in St. Petersburg.

And the Russians (and others) have been building fake profiles for YEARS, using scraped data, activity, photos, and posts from legitimate users like me, to build out their probable-looking profiles to promote their dezinformatsiya campaigns.

It's the sobering realization you come to when you see your photo used on a profile for an alt-right fuckstick, and read in depth the things the whistleblower at CA was involved in.