Last week, Bloomberg reported that David Kirkpatrick, a former Facebook enthusiast, is now one of its fiercest critics, arguing that the conglomerate’s effect on the world has been devastating. In the piece, Kirkpatrick calls for governance and reprioritization within Facebook, as well as straightforward acknowledgement of their mistakes.
As if to prove Kirkpatrick’s point, The New York Times also revealed that Facebook fails to closely monitor partners’ use of user data. The oversight issue was detected in 2013, but, to-date, users have not been officially notified, and it remains unclear if Facebook has ever looked into how its partners handle user data.
“Racists, autocrats, and purveyors of hate and disorder have found Facebook the perfect medium for spewing poison, normalizing it, and gaining adherents. …” David Kirkpatrick
The Bloomberg article can be read in full here and is excerpted below:
Never before has one company’s failure had such a devastating effect on the world,” wrote the technology journalist David Kirkpatrick recently.
Racists, autocrats, and purveyors of hate and disorder have found Facebook the perfect medium for spewing poison, normalizing it, and gaining adherents. … Societies around the world are reeling from the consequences. Politics and democracy are under duress. And thus far, Facebook does not have an effective way to fight back.
Kirkpatrick is hardly the first person to use such harsh language to characterize Facebook Inc.; these days, it’s hard to find anyone not employed by the company who’ll offer a full-throated defense. But Kirkpatrick’s criticism falls into a special category. In 2010, he was such a fan of Facebook that he wrote a book called “The Facebook Effect.” 2 It portrays the company as a positive force, while casting its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, as an idealist, far more concerned with connecting people than with making money.
The New York Times article can be read in full here and is excerpted below:
When a team from PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted the initial F.T.C.-mandated assessment in 2013, it tested Facebook’s partnerships with Microsoft and Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry handset. In both cases, PricewaterhouseCoopers found only “limited evidence” that Facebook had monitored or checked its partners’ compliance with its data use policies. That finding was redacted from a public version of PricewaterhouseCoopers’s report released by the F.T.C. in June.
“Facebook claimed that its data-sharing partnerships with smartphone manufacturers were on the up and up,” Mr. Wyden said. “But Facebook’s own, handpicked auditors said the company wasn’t monitoring what smartphone manufacturers did with Americans’ personal information, or making sure these manufacturers were following Facebook’s own policies.” He added, “It’s not good enough to just take the word of Facebook — or any major corporation — that they’re safeguarding our personal information.”