We have said it before, the app cult has to be stopped.
So how is the current discussion about facebook data breaches connected to this?
To sum up the privacy problem of social media: Users give access to their data and to the data of their “friends” by using all these little tests and games, the so called “apps”.
The way these apps are marketed you can’t decide what to share, you get a “free” product in exchange for data. You can only click accept on the whole access bundle. The only way to “cheat” this should be to run apps in a sandbox.
From the side of the host (in this case facebook) no controlling contracts for this procedure exists, once the third parties have the data they do whatever they want with it. Because you know, the user accepted this by clicking accept on a free app that only has an accept button and no room for selection access options. It is a deal between user and third party. The conditions of this deal are highly problematic! It is neither facebook selling your data, nor a data breach, just a deal with really bad conditions, your and your network’s data in exchange for some code. This marketing scheme is pushed by all the tech companies that constitute the app cult, be it Google Play, App Store, Windows Apps, Facebook Apps, Twitter Apps.
This company “Cambridge Analytica” that is currently discussed had users take psychological tests and give access to their friends data. This data then is very useful to run a campaign, because your advertising/propaganda will be highly individually targeted.
In the end facebook and the other tech companies are to blame for this app system. They completely took away from users the possibility to choose what to share. The current contracting system is: you get this for free, in a full exchange for all this third-party service decided.
Don’t believe the hype around Cambridge Analytica. Their psycho-cyber-warfare phantasies are not the real danger. Changing ways of marketing software are.
PS: Thank you to Toby Shorin for this important side-note on the Cambridge Analytica ‘whistleblower’: “The look of performative guilt on the Cambridge Analytica dude’s face in every photo is the biggest giveaway of his obvious expectation to be given the Chelsea Manning or Snowden treatment despite the fact that everything he says indicates the whole episode has been a game to him“