Liberals were apparently distraught to learn that an election consulting firm used data to target voters. As Erick pointed out earlier, the Obama campaign did the exact same thing. The only difference (from what I've been able to glean from the media hysteria) is that CA "misrepresented" its research in order to gain access to Facebook's data. The left wing is also upset about CA's managing director Mark Turnbull's quote to an undercover reporter that they preyed on anxieties you didn’t know you had, “until you saw something that evoked that reaction from you. And our job is … to understand deep-seated, underlying fears.”
Frankly, I don't understand what everyone is making such a big deal about that. Do you ever listen to the news promos for your local TV channel during Sweeps month? "Is there something on your school's playground that is killing our children? Find out here at 11." (Spoiler alert: the answer is NO.) Every media frenzy from the Ebola outbreak to school shootings is an appeal to fear. And it's not just the liberal media either. Check out Todd Starnes columns over at Town Hall and you'll be convinced that Christians in America will be rounded up next week and shot in the streets. The left wing media has us convinced that our children are about to be snatched off the streets by pedophiles, the Klan is going to start lynching people again and racists are snatching the scarves off of every Muslim girl on the subway. The right wing media highlights every crime committed by an illegal alien (and every left wing hysteria that turns out to be a hoax.) It's not that these things aren't actually happening, but depending on which bubble you inhabit, you're convinced they're happening at an alarming rate.
And where did Facebook learn our deepest, darkest fears? Well, from US! We voluntarily handed over our personal information, relationship status, list of friends and relatives and favorite TV shows. Every time you take one of those "Which Disney Princess are YOU?" quizzes, you're handing over even more information. (Apparently I'm Belle because I like to read so much.) But now that people have discovered that someone manipulated that information TO GET DONALD TRUMP ELECTED PRESIDENT! Well, something must be done.
This morning the Washington Examiner suggested we should delete our Facebook accounts. The Guardian is calling for government regulation. National Review says it's no big deal.
Personally, I'm hoping most people ignore the cries to "delete your account." Because Facebook is pretty much what passes for my human contact now. I have literally learned about death in the Family by reading it on Facebook. I announced my divorce on Facebook because it was far less painful that telling every single person I know the news one at a time over a 6 month time span. Heck, MY CAT has his own Facebook page! He also has more friends than I do (which tells you all you need to know about MY personal life.)
Facebook and other social media platforms are just tools. Like a gun or other weapon, whether they're good or bad depends on how you use them. Nothing is inherently good or evil.
If Facebook goes away, there are relatives that I may never hear from again. I'll miss out on everyone's news. And everyone else would miss the photos of my adorable cat. On the other hand, I won't have to see any more exotic vacations while I'm trapped in my own little hovel.
If you're concerned about your privacy on Facebook, just heed the words the great internet meme: The only Facebook privacy notice you need: If it's private, don't post it on Facebook. I really don't want to lose Facebook. Even if it did get Trump elected. Maybe we all just need to be a little more careful with our information, and a lot more discerning about our hysteria.
On the other hand, if I quit Facebook, I'd have more time for reading.