Who was it who said that bad things never come to an end? I don’t know, but it does appear as if things might be about to change and hopefully for the better. You see the zillionaire owner and founder of Facebook, Mr Mark Zuckerberg is facing an investigation by the U.S Federal Trade Commission, a consumer watchdog into how his company permitted a loophole to exist that essentially failed to protect millions of Facebook users’ personal data.
So what’s all the do? Now I won’t bore you with the details, suffice as to say that the personal data of over 50 million users was extracted from Facebook by a company contracted by Cambridge Analytica. No. I’ve never heard of them either. Anyway, among the many questions Mr Zukerberg will be expected to answer is: what exactly was the purpose for which that information was pulled?
Now, I think I can provide the answer here. It’s because somebody, somewhere wanted to conduct a Phd research project into the average IQ level of your everyday Facebook user and ascertain if it might reach double figures. Ground breaking work was to be conducted into why fifty million no lifes swim around daily in an ocean of banality sharing little more than millions of so-called amazing videos of cute dogs, cute babies and insights that are less interesting than Steve Davis. They were set to investigate the thousands of born again something or others spreading the word in chat rooms across the world with their cyber friends, the personal heartbreak stories of people at deaths door with horrible illnesses and asking for their ‘friends’ prayers, and why it’s possible to find more spam then you can purchase at the nearest delicatessen. In short, the research would seek to prove once and for that FaceBook has become the personification of banality.
Of course I could have answered that little query years ago. Facebook
has long become the equivalent of the person on the upper deck of a double-decker bus who’s only meaningful interaction with his mobile phone is to tell the caller, I’m on the bus’. He shells out sixty quid a month to supply this golden nugget of priceless information! There’s no meaningful engagement anywhere, and is it akin to a darkened room where nobody can see or speak to each other on a personal level, but where everyone is ‘friends’
People exaggerate their lives in an attempt to escape the mundane one they’re leading in reality. In short the place in populated with those people, who once you spot them coming down the street, you instantly cross the road.
Anyway, back to Mr Zuckerberg. It transpires that a third-party company called Global Science Research devised a neat little personality quiz to get people to interact with the app, which then used a loophole which allowed them to get their hands on all of the behind the scenes information of those persons who took part. As the quiz was aimed at Facebook users we can safely state that no personalities would have been detected. Users would have been confronted by such taxing questions as how many hands do you have, what day of the week is it and which letter of the alphabet is used to mark a ballot paper?
However, not only did Global Science Research get their dirty mitts on users data, but also the same data relating to their equally cerebrally challenged friends, and all of their other meaningless interactions they had made via their Facebook account. A spokesperson for Global Research confirmed that if all of the fifty million users put their heads together it would form the world largest ever log cabin!
Now I can already hear said Mr Zuckerberg apologising to the Commission, and agreeing to co-operate with any enquiry blah de blah, not to mention a meeting at the British House of Commons. I mean wouldn’t you? I know I’d agree to anything if my share value was about to go tits up? However none of that will prevent his discomfort when he is questioned about the motivation behind a global franchise that, through its app protocols, permitted an organization to help itself to the personal data of millions of users without any of them being given the opportunity to refuse such pilfering.
But will this lead to the end of Facebook? One can only dream. On the other hand it’s probably a lot safer to keep all the lunatics logged on to the same asylum?
22nd March 2018.