What did we learn new about Facebook?

I’m feeling a little stupid right now. Maybe a little history is in order.

  • We’ve known since 2014, back when Five Labs used our Facebook posts to analyze personality, that when we shared our data with an app on Facebook, the app’s publisher gets our friends’ data, too.
  • It should have been obvious more than a year earlier, in 2013, when Wolfram|Alpha did its Facebook social graph analysis, but I didn’t draw the connection then.1I’ve been unable to determine if there is a link between Five Labs and Cambridge Analytica. Both Five Labs and Cambridge Analytica performed personality analysis using the Big 5 (OCEAN) personality traits. To my understanding, Five Labs did it first.
  • A couple of years before that, in 2011, one of my friends posited that the 2012 election would be about “winning the Facebook news feed,” though I resisted the thought.2Actually, I still resist. That’s why I did my Facebook Experiment.
  • And in 2009, I predicted Facebook selling targeted ads. How could it not?3This was tongue in cheek when I wrote it. Haha! I still think Facebook has a way to go before it implements all of my “plans.” But the point remains—does anyone think that Facebook doesn’t survive and thrive by selling ads into target demographics?
  • We know Facebook experimented with our moods.
  • We also know that Facebook studies our political views and manipulated our news feed so we saw news we agree with, with the goal of keeping us happy and on Facebook.4This doesn’t bother me. When I go to Starbucks, or the mall (yeah, right?), or the airport, I don’t mind that they try to provide a comfortable place that makes me happy. If they have reading material around, I don’t assume that I’m getting a comprehensive view of everything I should know. I wouldn’t expect it from Facebook either.

So tell me again what’s so shocking about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica? What new thing did we learn?

Btw, if you want to keep your data on Facebook more private,5If it’s on the internet, it’s not private. Regardless what settings you have, your information is no more secure than your least responsible Facebook friend on a bender early, early on a Sunday morning. there are steps you can take. Techlicious has a great walkthrough on Facebook’s privacy settings.

“Sick of Politics” is privilege in action

I want my friends to understand that being “sick of politics” is privilege in action. Your privilege allows you to live a non-political existence. Your wealth, your race, your abilities or your gender allows you to live a life in which you likely will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation, or genocide. You don’t want to get political, you don’t want to fight because your life and safety are not at stake.

It’s hard and exhausting to bring up issues of oppression (aka “get political”). The fighting is tiring. I get it. Self-care is essential. But if you find politics annoying and you just want everyone to be nice, please know that people are literally fighting for their lives and safety. You might not see it, but that’s what privilege does.

Kristen Tea

Guilty as charged. :-(

Konstantin Kovshenin on Quality Writing

I cry when I browse archives on my own blog.

Konstantin Kovshenin

Wow. Isn’t that the truth!

When I see traffic to my how-to articles from years ago made long out of date by new, great WordPress features and better themes, I shake my head — and cry.1And that assumes they were correct when I wrote them. Yeah, I also cry when I see my old posts espousing views I no longer hold… :’-(

This is one good reason to leave dates on posts.

Politics on Facebook? No Thanks!

I just saw a scary prediction on Twitter. And it’s probably true: Presidential election 2012 will be about winning the Facebook news feed.

Not my news feed.

Facebook is like a party: people getting together, bragging, sharing, and telling jokes. It has the same social rules. Don’t be rude. Don’t get drunk and embarrass yourself. Don’t tell terribly embarrassing stories about your friends. And if you’re going to talk politics and religion, you better make sure those you’re talking to want to hear it.

Sorry, but I don’t.

I’ve never seen anyone change a political view or a religious belief because of a discussion, whether online or in person. I’ve seen lots of people expose their ignorance about religion and politics. I’ve seen many fallacious arguments. I’ve done it myself.

No more. Not on Facebook.

There are places where politics is the order of the day, same for religious discussions. Usually, it’s forums designed specifically for these topics.

I realize these are just my opinions about the appropriate use of Facebook. I can’t stop you from using Facebook for other purposes.

I can only hide you, block you, or unfriend you.

Impolite Company Is Alive

My political blog, Impolite Company, is open for business. There’s not much there yet, but that soon will change.

It’s been a while since I started a new WordPress blog. There’s a big difference between starting a basic blog and one that has those features and capabilities I consider necessary. Domain names, styles, comments, and feeds, oh my! That sounds like a topic for another post.

In the mean time, drop on by Impolite Company, leave a comment, subscribe to the feed, and prepare to join in the discussion. And for those of you who don’t like politics, relax in the knowledge that I won’t write politics here on blogan.net.

Stop The Bailout

I’m not an economist nor do I play one on TV. I offer no expert opinion on the credit crunch. All I know is what I see in congress.

In times of true national crisis, congress puts aside party politics and does what’s right for the country. In times of crisis, congress is filled with patriots, not politicians.

And congress, with economic advisers on staff who know stuff, is not acting as if we’re in a national crisis. Rather than approve the bailout bill last Friday, the House or Representatives postured and pontificated and pointed fingers and ultimately voted no. Pundits posited the proposal was unpopular. Public opinion be damned — in serious times congress acts serious, and yet it didn’t. These must not be serious times.

This week, I see more political posturing. I see piles of pork. I see tons of tax cuts.

If a bill’s not worth passing without “incentives,” it’s not worth passing at all. Vote it down!

Update. It’s easy to contact your representative. There’s a simple official web site. It takes only a couple of minutes and you don’t have to be eloquent to get your opinion heard and counted.

Update 2. It’s now too late. The House passed the bailout package.