back to article Facebook suspends account of Cambridge Analytica whistleblower

Chris Wylie, the whistleblower who has alleged the knowingly improper use of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica, says The Social Network™ has suspended his account. Wylie took to Twitter with the following missive. Suspended by @facebook. For blowing the whistle. On something they have known privately for 2 years. pic. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shoot the Messenger

    The BBC is very strangely quiet on this story - perhaps there's a UK government angle that they're trying to hush up ?

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Shoot the Messenger

      You could say the Washington Post was "strangely quiet" about the story too, possibly because it was a joint exclusive by the New York Times and The Observer. It's the lead story on the BBC's "Tech" news page with the carefully-punctuated headline "data firm accused of 'misleading' MPs" and referencing Observer reporting.

      Not all news organisations simply cut and paste their rivals' stories into the headlines when they have no new reporting of their own to contribute.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Shoot the Messenger

      Being as BBC News are acting as pro govt mouthpiece (in usual non impartial following the govt line in vast majority of their coverage, (the Corbyn Soviet poster thing on newsnight recently was a cracking example) with small bit of anti coverage just to try and deflect bias accusations they tend to have pro govt view spin) on news then alleged links of CA to influencing brexit vote will not be high on their news agenda.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Shoot the Messenger

        Being as BBC News are acting as pro govt mouthpiece (in usual non impartial following the govt line in vast majority of their coverage, (the Corbyn Soviet poster thing on newsnight recently was a cracking example) with small bit of anti coverage just to try and deflect bias accusations they tend to have pro govt view spin) on news then alleged links of CA to influencing brexit vote will not be high on their news agenda.

        If you only consumed the BBC you wouldn't even have known anything about the Agent Cob scandal until almost two weeks after it broke. The idea that the BBC are somehow not left leaning is ludicrous - its basically Guardian TV, according to themselves!

        Seriously, if you're so far to the left that you think the BBC is rightwing, then you need to seek urgent help.

        1. tfb Silver badge

          Re: Shoot the Messenger

          This exchange provides nearly canonical example of the demonstration that the BBC is in fact rather unbiased: someone posts something implying they are right-wing / government lackeys, followed by someone else posting something claiming that they are rather left-wing / Guardian lackeys. When both those things happen (which they fairly regularly do) you know they are doing rather well at being unbiased.

          (And, of course, the reason they are being 'strangely quiet' about it is that they are not publishing stuff for which they don't have good evidence, where they don't count 'some newspaper published it' as being good evidence, as that newspaper, if it has good evidence (which it probably does), protect its sources thus leaving anyone reporting based on their report exposed. But it's easier to just accuse them of being government mouthpieces, of course.)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Shoot the Messenger

            And Twitter isn't a court of law, or even a kangaroo court legislative inquiry. There's no way anything gets "proved" in 140 characters or less. No news promulgated by tweet should be trusted: it's an inherently insufficient information platform, only good for raving about the latest fashion or Presidential press releases (and, apparently, declarations of trade wars). All that said, my pessimistic side tells me that the leaker is right, Facebook is up to its ears in this and could be afraid of what a wider inquiry might show. But no need to worry, the press will never threaten a big player like FB and government is already in its pocket.

          2. Mage Silver badge

            Re: Shoot the Messenger

            BBC has their own strange agenda.

            1. RealBigAl

              Re: Shoot the Messenger

              The BBC is pro UK establishment. It's specifically run by a board of governors made up of the UK establishment. That shouldn't be confused with UK government, whichever party thinks it's in charge at any given time.

        2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Shoot the Messenger

          I'd missed the "Agent Cob" appellation per se, which Google page one finds mains on a particular web site. It refers to a sequence of allegations that The Right Honourable Jeremy Corbyn MP is openly socialist and under the control of Soviet Russia and its elected president Vlad Draculin, and in fact this has been repeatedly aired by the BBC in reviews of newspaper and website journalism, broadcast evidently to advertise what a load of bollocks they all are. Especially the Sunday ones for some reason, it is make-shit-up day. Which this is.

          I'm slightly curious where the term "Cob" comes from; it may be the spider monsters from "The Hobbit" films. I don't really want to know, it probably would just make me wish all the more for the apocalypse to arrive at last.

        3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Shoot the Messenger

          Agent Cob...

          The name's BondCorbyn, James BondJeremy Corbyn

          Licensed to KillChill

          Appearing without disguise at pop concerts throughout the summer.

    3. Dr Paul Taylor

      Re: Shoot the Messenger

      If this weekend was the first time that you heard this story about Cambridge Analytica then I urge you to read Carole Cadwalladr's coverage of it over about a year:

      theguardian.com/profile/carolecadwalladr

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Btw. CEO Zuckerberg sold 245,400 shares

      Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg sold 245,400 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $178.16, for a total value of $43,720,464.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Mark Zuckerberg also recently made many more trades...

      source: https://ledgergazette.com/2018/03/15/mark-zuckerberg-sells-245400-shares-of-facebook-inc-fb-stock.html

    5. Bernard M. Orwell
      Holmes

      Re: Shoot the Messenger

      so the Beeb have spoken up a little now and are reporting on the story. In part.

      Specifically, note how they are loudly mentioning that CA may have had something to do with Trumps election, but there's not a whisper of how they may have affected the Brexit referendum.

  2. TRT Silver badge

    Oldsters?

    Over 25s? Really?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Oldsters?

      Sorry, babe, you're over the hill.

      Paris, because she's never over the hill.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oldsters? - Paris, because she's never over the hill.

        But an awful lot of people have been over her hills.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Oldsters? - Paris, because she's never over the hill.

          Montmartre.

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Oldsters? - Paris, because she's never over the hill.

          @Voyna i Mor

          But an awful lot of people have been over her hills.

          Shirley, "mounds"?

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Oldsters? - Paris, because she's never over the hill.

            @Voyna i Mor

            But an awful lot of people have been over her hills.

            That would be the people who went up a Hilton and came down a mound.

            Later made into a film starring Hugh Grant?

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Oldsters?

      Young folk have no such qualms, understand the transactions they participate in and are more familiar with the privacy controls of the services they use.

      One word for that: Bollocks

      1. tfb Silver badge

        Re: Oldsters?

        Yes, bollocks. Young people don't understand the transactions they are participating in with Facebook &co (they might understand them better than old people, but they don't understand them well): they are just much less risk-averse than older people and are, in the standard way young people have always done, making bad decisions as a result. 'A moment of convenience, a lifetime of regret' and all that.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Oldsters?

          'A moment of convenience, a timeline of regret' FTFY

      2. Deltics
        Coat

        Re: Oldsters?

        "Young folk have no such qualms, understand the transactions they participate in and are more familiar with the privacy controls of the services they use."

        This is clever, platitudinal patronising.

        What he means is that anyone under 25 has not yet experienced enough unnerving consequences of sharing their data and so are still in that naive state where their complacency can be exploited.

        Of course, if he actually said that then he would draw attention to the true thinking and insult and offend his market, both and all at the same time. So instead it is put in these terms that appeals to the same under 25 year old's vanity and sense of superiority.

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gimp

    So do FB look at them as competitors or potential subsidiaries

    To help them better harvest the product?

    1. Cowardly Anon

      Re: So do FB look at them as competitors or potential subsidiaries

      FB see CA as customers, and Wylie as a threat to that

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: So do FB look at them as competitors or potential subsidiaries

        "FB see CA as customers, and Wylie as a threat to that"

        exactly - all of the news discussion on the 'cambridge' guys using the data seems to be in line with FB's rules at the time, *AND* when you consider how 'big slurp' (aka google) has been directly involved with the former president, you just have to say "this is the 21st century" and recognize that election people are gonna collect data using whatever means they have available.

        The solution: don't make your data available, if you can manage it. None of what they do is "illegal". It is probably "immoral" and when the laws change they'll be forced to STOP [we hope]. but I still get calls on my phone from "press 1 to talk to a human" robocalls, even though my numbers are on the national do not call list, and robo-calls of a commercial nature are ILLEGAL, and they're obviously doing it ANYWAY.

        and politicians exempt THEMSELVES from the rules, because POLITICAL robocalls are NOT illegal, and political calls can DISRESPECT the do-not-call list. yeah, figures, huh?

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: So do FB look at them as competitors or potential subsidiaries

          Many people under 25 should have experienced IT savvy parents eavesdropping on their social media, hacking their accounts, controlling their internet access and censoring their web browsing. And if you can't trust your parents...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not fix the platform rather than ban one company?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why not do both

      Fix Faecebook and ban CA....

      or Ban Faecebook and fix CA

      Either way is good as both are nothing more than warts on the landscape and should be removed.

    2. PyLETS
      Meh

      @AC: "Why not fix the platform ?"

      It can't be fixed, because the customers of the platform pay for user data and there is no other product.

  5. Ochib Silver badge

    'If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      well. jim smith at jsmith1010101@hotmail.com is certainly being sold....

      not sure how much info they get as jim doesnt post much.

  6. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Devil

    Challenge the lizards...

    At your peril.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I did not have sexual relations...

    Weasel words from corporate suits at privacy invading scum firm

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: I did not have sexual relations...

      Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do...

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha... Ahhhh-ha ha ha! Sorry, couldn't even keep a straight face in print after reading that one.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I did not have sexual relations...

        "Ha ha ha ha ha ha... Ahhhh-ha ha ha! Sorry, couldn't even keep a straight face in print after reading that one."

        It's lucky for you they didn't claim "privacy is our primary concern". You might have died laughing!

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: I did not have sexual relations...

          protecting is their primary concern. they cant sell the data if someone has given it away for free!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This presents an interesting conundrum.

    If Facebook don't fix this and Facebook has been used to stop a party getting elected (e.g. the democrats) then what will the other side do when they eventually get into power?

    This could be the start of the downfall of Facebook because you can't have one company having that much power with regards to elections and public opinion.

    1. Naselus

      " you can't have one company having that much power with regards to elections and public opinion."

      Except, traditionally, we generally do. William Randolph Hurst's newspaper empire was so powerful that he could make nations go to war with one another. Rupert Murdoch owns so much of the British press that his support has been required to win an election here for the last 25 years (and through Fox News, he has largely controlled the Republican nomination process in the USA from 2000-2015).

      I do think FB is headed for regulation sooner rather than later, though.

    2. ForthIsNotDead

      It's free market.

      If Facebook don't fix this and Facebook has been used to stop a party getting elected (e.g. the democrats) then what will the other side do when they eventually get into power?

      It's a free market. Both Republicans, AND Democrats (and the Russians) are free to spend their money with Facebook in order to target the electorate.

      Or not.

      No one is forcing them to do it. Or not to do it.

      "Waaa waaa waaaa it's not fair. The Republicans used to Facebook to unfairly swing the election"...

      Translation: "The Republican party decided to focus considerable human and financial resources into taking their message to the electorate via the online medium, using Facebook in particular."

      It's as simple as that. I don't see how it's any different to a TV campaign, I really don't. We may not like it very much, but either side using it as a platform is a non-event as far as I'm concerned. Of *course* they are going to use it. You'd be an idiot not to!

    3. tom dial Silver badge

      The presumption that Cambridge Analytica and its alleged activities caused the Clinton loss is very far from proved and there are good reasons to think it is pretty much rubbish. It seems to be built on the notion that by applying its secret algorithms, CA (or the Trump campaign with their help and guidance) was able to convey a specially targeted tailored message to each likely voter (or perhaps those they were interested in reaching). Is there actual evidence that was done? To take it a bit further, it is then assumed that those messages were effective in persuading people who independently might have favored Clinton to vote instead for Trump or a different candidate, or to not vote. Given the large differences among the candidates this, too, requires considerable evidence that has not yet shown up. Inasmuch as any CA assistance apparently failed to move Ted Cruz much beyond the first cut in the Republican joust for the nomination it is likely such evidence will not appear soon. Even if effective when considered alone, Facebook and targeted advertising do not operate in a vacuum and in practical use their effect is diluted, probably a great deal, by voters' and consumers' other social interactions.

      I do not entirely dismiss the possibility that the techniques alluded to are effective. They are in line with research at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, and others going back 60 or 70 years. Vance Packard popularized earlier and less sophisticated commercial application of some of the notions as long ago. CA's and similar activities In the commercial arena represent the engineering application of the academic work. In the end they may be shown to be highly effective, but for now a good deal of skepticism is in order.

      The asserted power of Facebook and the likes of CA as social manipulation vehicles, like the asserted power of campaign money in politics, probably is being overstated by an order of magnitude or more. A more serious danger may be that we go off in a moral panic and enact legislation that, while palliating our moral outrage, may have little real effect.

  9. OJay

    Correlation or Causation

    Of my circle of friends, in the 35 - 45 years age bracket, the 3 people I know who supported Trump & BREXIT are all avid Facebook users. And these are highly professional individuals all successful in their fields.

    The government seems to have finally woken up to the threat of fake-news and is now starting the campaign to ensure users are able to distinguish between verified information and concocted muck, between facts and opinion pieces, and when politicians make promises, between what is feasible and what can only be classified as pie-in-the-sky aspirations.

    There yet still hope for the new generation...

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Correlation or Causation

      @ OJay

      Who are these people - what fields are they high up in?

      Just so I can avoid them if they are swayed by random stuff on Facebook.

    2. Dr Paul Taylor

      Facebook and Brexit

      The entire anti-brexit movement is run on Facebook. There at least 700 closed FB groups, most apparently with very few members, which will therefore have little impact on the campaign. But besides this, the national organisations run their entire operations through FB groups. I have had most contact with Britain for Europe, which represents the grass roots groups.

      Despite telling people essentially what hit the news this weekend, other activists will not take no for an answer when I refuse to join FB (these are people who who not pressurise a vegetarian to eat meat). The solution to every problem is yet another FB page, whilst the websites are hosted on "free" services such as Google and Wix, giving out edit privileges liberally. None of the activists has a clue about information management.

      To put it the other way round, it seems that IT-competent people are not willing to volunteer for the campaign. You can see from my comments elsewhere on this site that I am not really an IT person: I am a mathematician in a CS department. But I have taken to calling myself "the only geek in the village", since noone else has any programming skills at all.

      If you'd like to help, please contact me at pt@euinbrum.org

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Facebook and Brexit

        The entire anti-brexit movement is run on Facebook.

        Any political movement at present. There is a reason for that too.

        Average voter != el-reg reader. They are ON facebook even if they are not particularly active.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Facebook and Brexit

          > Any political movement at present

          Now they're leaving Facebook to escape the censorship, if they aren't banned first. Not just conservatives. All grassroots politics.

          Essentially, social media censors are holding everyone to MSM standards of political correctness. Genuine grassroots movements consisting of regular people - not lawyers, journos, and professional activists - cannot meet that test.

          What remains? Fake news and astroturf.

      2. jonfr

        Re: Facebook and Brexit

        That's why the anti-brexit movement is not going anywhere. In the social media world the impact is none. Its nice to talk about but the real world effect is none and anything that thinks social media is going to change things is mistaken and has been lied to by the social media companies.

        This is why Donald Trump won, all his opponents where complaining on Facebook and not doing anything out in the real world to have an effect of what was happening.

        1. Dr Paul Taylor

          Re: Facebook and Brexit

          If you read what I wrote, you will see that I have nothing to do with "social media". What is needed, simply to make the anti-brexit movement work as well as any company (I am not saying that is "well") is some basic IT competence to do its internal management.

          As to whether it is going anywhere, when protests happen, politicians slip quietly out of meetings to whisper in the organisers' ears to thank them for not letting the matter rest quietly. For example, when we had a little demo outside the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham in October 2016, people tiptoed out to say "there are people in there trying to stop this madness".

          So please offer to help instead of complaining.

      3. rnturn

        Re: Facebook and Brexit

        A CS department where nobody (but one) has any programming skills? Seriously?

    3. lucki bstard

      Re: Correlation or Causation

      I hate the term 'fake news'

      What is 'fake news' Its essentially what you're told is fake; but who decides that...

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Correlation or Causation

        There is a bit of truth in this, but "fake news" as generally understood outside outside the Trump immediate circle consists pretty much of false reports about things that did or sometimes did not happen, combined with unsubstantiated rumors, carefully selected "experts,", anonymous sources, and slanted language to present a picture quite distinct from reality. Prime participants in such activity include, in addition to the usual suspects, the New York Times, Washington Post, (US) National Public Radio and, increasingly (again US) Public Broadcasting System.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Correlation or Causation

          There's no difference, they're out to get us all. Divide & conquer. Fake news is fake news whether you like Trump or not. You're nothing to them but a tax slave, useful idiot, and maybe cannon fodder.

          You also forgot CNN. And CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Fox, and the Beeb.

          1. tom dial Silver badge

            Re: Correlation or Causation

            I did not forget others, but did not think it worth trying to be exhaustive, so chose some that often, but quite inaccurately in my opinion, put forward as relatively unbiased, and from which I choose to acquire the majority of my news input. While sometimes annoyingly biased, they usually cover the facts reasonably well if you read articles completely and disregard the slant. In technical matters it is somewhere between very useful and essential also to have some independent subject knowledge.

            I would rank the others suggested, from most useful to least, CBS or ABC, then Fox, CNN, and (MS)NBC. In the past I listened to a fair amount of short wave radio and thought BBC, along with VoA and Deutche Welle English services, to be relatively complete and accurate, and much less biased than others.

  10. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Facebook and the eaten homework

    Blames dog, kicks dog.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Young folk have no such qualms, understand the transactions they participate in

    A piece of truth followed by a lie.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Young folk have no such qualms, understand the transactions they participate in

      At the time he made this comment it was more likelym that "young folk have no such qualms" because they saw social media as "being on their side" (helped elect Obama, twitter storms getting companies to drop ads in the Daily Mail, etc,etc) on the basis that is was beign use by "people like us"

      .... but as soon as it got connected to thinigs they disagree with then it becomes an evil force that must be regulated (or more likely. the use by people we don't like must be regulated but the government should keep out of our use)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Young folk have no such qualms, understand the transactions they participate in

      Like £17 for smashed avocado.

    3. EnviableOne Bronze badge

      Re: Young folk have no such qualms, understand the transactions they participate in

      "Young folk have no such qualms, they dont understand or know they are even taking participating in transactions" FTFY

      kids dont realise what they are sharing, or who they are sharing it with, i doubt they have even read the T&Cs for one of the services they signed up to, and only scrolled to the end cos they had to to click accept.

  12. silent_count

    Facebook will self-destruct in 3... 2.... 1...

    “Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do"

    So when can we expect facebook to cease operating?

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Flame

    “Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do"

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HAAAAA!

    That was a good one, thank you.

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: “Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do"

      It's the 21st-century version of "Your cheque is in the post".

  14. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Fix your software

    "Our software intentionally lets people do this."

    "Um... We don't want people to do this."

    Load of bollox. They'd have removed the ability years ago if they wanted to.

  15. naive

    Please pathetic libtards stop the whining you lost big time

    >> used the trove to conduct micro-targeted political campaigns thought to have contributed

    >> to the election of Donald Trump and the leave vote carrying the Brexit referendum.

    Russians, FBI, Snowdon, Assange, Martians and what more caused Hillary to lose ?.

    Everything seems good enough to debase the choice of American voters against liberal destruction of the society and tyranny.

    The fact that 100% of the mainstream media was like a pack of Wolves supporting Hillary, doesn't count, no it was this "facebook thing" which made her lose. Yeah right. In fact these things are good news, these liberals are so dumb that nobody has to worry about the outcome of the next elections.

    1. DCFusor Silver badge

      Re: Please pathetic libtards stop the whining you lost

      Please stop calling all voters morons - this elitist partisanship is not how you win friends.

      Calling us deplorable helped you lose last time. Here you are effectively doing it again.

      Definition of insanity.

      Most of us see a distinct bias in facebook and it's not for the lib or bremain causes at all.

      And we proceed to ignore it - or in my case, don't have an account (that I can log into).

      But nearly all of us - and if not, certainly the ones you pander to, are smarter than that.

      Else, how about admitting you're trying to sway the lowest common denominator?

    2. Shaha Alam

      Re: Please pathetic libtards stop the whining you lost big time

      "Everything seems good enough to debase the choice of American voters against liberal destruction of the society and tyranny."

      i thought the american voters voted for hillary? wasn't that the curiosity with the american elections, that more people voted for hillary than trump yet trump still gets elected because of ${reasons}?

      1. DCFusor Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Please pathetic libtards stop the whining you lost big time

        "i thought the american voters voted for hillary?"

        Clearly, many did. In Jill Stein's investigations, some districts went 95% for her - something that NEVER happens without rigging - and in other checks, sometimes more than the number of registered voters.

        Since that wasn't the desired outcome of said investigations, they were dropped like a hot potato.

        Yes, there is a lot of extreme, wing-nut partisanship in the US (and world) just now, as the media has found that it helps generate clicks, and outfits like FB and YT have helped create silos in the quest to generate more ad revenue. It's like the HHGTTG shoe-shop ray has been turned to "rabid partisan" and pointed at us.

        If you only see one side, I strongly suspect confirmation bias is in play - I see plenty to go around.

        I also see that for example, self-segregated groups seem to project that all people share their views, which is reinforced by the above silos. Example - city vs country dwellers tend to be our versions of "left" and "right" respectively, and neither seems to understand this fact or stop supporting the idea that one size fits all. It doesn't.

        There's a reason this country didn't start out with all power centralized, allowing different strokes for different folks, and the choice of horses for courses. We sadly seem to have forgotten how important that idea is.

        Some important insights into the nature of what's mistakenly called AI and how it's dividing us all are in this talk - most people have an aha moment somewhere along the line here:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmIgJ64z6Y4

        Wait till your news feeds, which are designed to *engage* you, not make you happy, are tailored to mental kinks you didn't even know you had. See talk above - click maximizers are the problem.

        As usual, follow the money and surprises are much more rare.

        1. GnuTzu Silver badge

          Re: Please pathetic libtards stop the whining you lost big time

          @DCFusor, you emphasized: "which are designed to *engage* you, not make you happy"

          Pity more people don't understand that. Marketing, of which politicking is a form, is designed to make you want, and it does so by sewing the seeds of discomfort.

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Please pathetic libtards stop the whining you lost big time

      Yeah right. In fact these things are good news, these liberals are so dumb that nobody has to worry about the outcome of the next elections.

      Many of us on the eastern side of the atlantic must have a different definition of 'liberal' then.

      Rarely see anything in what I see of US media that I would call 'liberal' whatsoever. Frothing extremist lunatics on various degrees of the right spectrum, from what I can see mostly.

    4. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Please pathetic libtards stop the whining you lost big time

      Democrats and hilary in particular are not liberal. The are just slightly less neocon than the republicans.

      You'll find most true liberals are fed up of Hillarys excuses and russian blaming as anyone else.

      Anyway, wasn't your great leader moaning about everyone else but him for his low ratings? "fake news", "voter fraud" etc.

      Everything seems good enough to debase the choice of American voters against liberal destruction of the society and tyranny.

      Your use of "libtard" shows your lack of intelligence or ability to think for yourself in a rational manner, so the above comment from you doesn't come as a surprise.

      Despite whether you lean left or right, you have a party that is raping the American citizens and dumping the spoils onto the elite. Unless you, Mr/Ms "naive" are one of the multi-millionaire elite, your party doesn't care about you. You are a vote, nothing more. After all, if you want something done, you bribe a politician. Those are the only people they care about.

      The current democrats? Not as bad as the republicans who damn well take the piss with their brazen antics (mind you, they get away with it, so why bother hiding their agenda?), but mostly still tied to the corporate donors.

      Incidentally, comments like yours please the republicans, so congratulations.

      Unfortunately for you, they also please the democrats.

      You are so busy fighting supporters of the other side you don't seem to realise you are being screwed - not by immigrants, not by the sick or unemployed, but by the very people you cheer for.

      Incidentally, yes, some of the MSM are Hillary shills - MSNBC, and in particular Rachel Maddow, but some of the others too.

      But outside them, you don't really see many people "on the street" cheerleading for Hilary.

      And in the UK? Unfortunately for us, the situation is very similar. People voting to give more power to toffs like rees-mogg and boris, because.. "immigrants". sigh.

  16. ForthIsNotDead

    Why is it a good thing...

    ...when governments use Facebook to run campaigns to educate on issues such as gun violence, and a bad thing when political parties (on either side of the political spectrum) use Facebook to attempt to convince people of the merits of a particular political party or issue?

    Both are using Facebook for the VERY THING it was designed for. The biggest human database on earth.

    Seriously: Ask yourself: Who *isn't* going to use it?

    That's what it's there for. That's it's raison d'etre. All this faux outrage when a marketing company uses the biggest database in the world to get data and execute its programme on the Facebook platform... Bollocks. Please. Spare us. The mock outrage by Facebook. The denials. Fuck off. That's what you're there for you asshats.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: using Facebook for the VERY THING it was designed for.

      No, it's designed to harvest personal data, sell advertising space and manipulate people. It is absolutely not any kind of database for users, only the owners.

      It should be closed down as it's toxic and can't be fixed.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suspended? How?

    Is it

    a) for blowing the whistle. By Facebook

    or

    b) By his enemies. Gaming Facebook's automatic mechanisms

  18. James 47

    watch our Twitter feed for more

    Can they track who's watching their Twatter feed?

  19. GnuTzu Silver badge
    Stop

    SPAMMERS

    Alt-right spam is getting ridiculous. I've been an anti-spam warrior for a couple decades, and my tools are quite fine tuned. The right-wing spam is going to an old email address that I've marked for spam learning, one that has been a spam-learning address for over a decade. That means they are sucking up any old spam list for their campaigns. These spammers are truly morally bankrupt. I wonder if we can soon expect the same b.s. from the alt-left.

    1. DCFusor Silver badge

      Re: SPAMMERS

      See my comment above. I did a test with some fresh fake accounts. One, that looked at some alt-right stuff, got that flavor spam. The other..alt-left. The more rabid, the better in either case.

      FB, youtube, whoever, you name them, use their "AI" to to figure out (often incorrectly at this point) what engages you - not what you _like_, necessarily - and expose you to more of that, so their engagement metrics go up and ads sell better.

      Try this at home - it's amusing, and sickening all at once.

      We used to be able to agree to disagree, and have nice dinner parties together. I dislike losing that ability. Greed is driving discord - it's good for business (so far).

  20. IGnatius T Foobar

    Facebook is toxic.

    Facebook is toxic. Facebook destroys everything it touches. How many of you remember "the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it" ? Facebook needs to be bypassed by pretty much the whole world.

    1. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Facebook is toxic.

      I PiHole'd Facebook.* this morning.. we'll see how my stats turn out.

  21. sisk Silver badge

    Oldsters are uneasy with the notion that Facebook et al mines their data, he said. Young folk have no such qualms, understand the transactions they participate in and are more familiar with the privacy controls of the services they use.

    In other words, youngsters know that Facebook uses their profile data to target ads and don't care. Oldsters know that Facebook uses their profile data to target ads and do care. Both groups understand the privacy controls, but one understands that those controls don't protect your privacy against Facebook and its advertising partners and the other just doesn't care because they grew up in a post-privacy world and never had any real privacy to begin with.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Both groups understand the privacy controls

      I doubt it except for a minority.

      Also Facebook sees everything and that's what's important. The privacy controls are a sop.

      Most people, old or young, have no concept of exactly how greedy and toxic big corporations, esp ones depending on selling adverts, are.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Both groups understand the privacy controls

        "The privacy controls are a sop."

        I doubt that the so-called privacy controls do anything but limit what other FB /users/ are able to see. Facebook's business partners more than likely get to see /everything/.

        How those privacy controls work seems to change from time to time and one has to wonder what personal data might become exposed during that window that opens up when the controls change and before you catch on and re-set your privacy settings to something you thought you had already set up.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Improper use of Facebook data

    If CA used a script to harvest publicly accessible Facebook user data, then where's the illegality. Does this feed into the MSM narrative that a bunch of Facebook posts influenced Brexit and distorted the presidential election and got Trump in. The voters choose to ignore the MSM correct msg and not vote in Hillary. Maybe the voters have become immune to the MSM b***s**t, I do know I have.

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Improper use of Facebook data

      Personally I'm of the opinion that Facebook - and really social media in general - has distorted every election since its inception. Echo chambers tend to do that. I think that's pretty obvious in fact.

      These days, thanks to social media, people get more exposure to coinciding views and less exposure to opposing views because they tend to make social media connections with people who have similar, or at least compatible, views to their own. Because of that their own views - right or wrong - get reinforced to the point that they are absolutely unshakable. This whole thing has an even worse side effect of making any sort of reasonable dialog basically impossible. If you truly believe that hasn't distorted our elections then you haven't put much thought into it.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Improper use of Facebook data

        This overstates. Echo chambers probably do not distort aggregate public opinion, whatever that may be. They very probably do act to firm up opinions by reinforcing confirmation bias. It takes some effort (and, for most people outside Facebook and Youtube) to seek out various viewpoints. TheRegister comment section is one of the better places to find a range of viewpoints; The New York Times and Washington Post, especially but not only the comment sections, are among the worst.

        How one's Facebook friends distribute in political leanings probably seems quite variable. Among my dozen or two I have a few each of hard core progressives and conservatives, gun nuts and gun control freaks, and some whose politics I am clueless about. Most are either family members or work acquaintences. My wife has more, with similar composition; from what she says, politics hardly ever comes up. My son has quite a few, also covering a large part of the political range but somewhat weighted to a Libertarian orientation, I think. My daughter has several hundred, mostly either high school or college classmates or former students from the time she was a public school teacher. I much doubt they come close to offering a closed political discussion universe.

        A data set like this, with four interrelated samples isn't very useful, but suggests the reinforcement of political leanings may be less common and less important than sometimes claimed. In addition, focusing on Facebook in particular and social media in general overlooks the fact that people inevitably are exposed to other sources of information, including political information.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Improper use of Facebook data

          CA and others wouldn't need to see your posts to learn about your politics. They can learn much about what things on your feed you "like", are "happy" about, "sad" about, etc. The "likes" they're after probably don't come from discussion threads---CA would have had to analyze posts for *their* leaning in order for your "like" or opinion to make any sense. They'd just have to inject something into your feed and record your response to that. If there's any interest in a comment you make in a thread, I'm betting that it only means you felt strongly enough about a particular topic to not only "like" it (or whatever your response was) but to also take the time to add that comment. I *can*, however,could see them mining the text in comments from "likers" to find keywords that might get used in the next post that gets injected into your feed. And the feedback loop is reinforced.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lessons Learned...

    About 270,000 users directly slurped. But 50m more were slurped by 3.5 degrees of Separation or Kevin Bacon! So can we say, Privacy-wise, the lowest hanging fruit in anyone's circle of friends isn't really much of a friend:

    .

    How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You've Ever Met

    https://gizmodo.com/how-facebook-figures-out-everyone-youve-ever-met-1819822691

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      '50m more slurped by 3.5 degrees of Separation'

      Its easy to see how the Personality-App generated juicy election profiling data. But how did data from 49.7m others who didn't complete the test directly generate such valuable juicy data too. Obviously somehow it did, but how.... Anyone up for speculating?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: '50m more slurped by 3.5 degrees of Separation'

        You can probably extrapolate the opinions of the people who did the test to the network of contacts on the basis that people are likely to have "friends" with similar views than not. So if you divide the people who did the survey in to groups of level of support/opposition to a given tubject then you could probably make a pretty educated guess for people in the connectivity network by determining the views of the people they were more closely connected to. FB/LinkedIn/etc already use this to suggest potential friends/contacts to you.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just out of curiosity...

    What does El Reg do with all the "upvote" "downvote" data associated in these comments sections under their articles?

    I know that commentards can view their total accumulated ups/downs in their own account section, is that the extent of it?

    Or is theregister.co.uk a secret arm of Theresa May?

    (I'll get my coat and (tin-foil) hat on the way out)

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Just out of curiosity...

      Obviously El Reg makes most of its money selling our data.

      It's invaluable to know who likes pedantic-grammar posts, how many like a beer on friday, and who are the best/worst punsters!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Just out of curiosity...

        @AC, Jamie Jones

        The identities of those who avoid articles on DevOps and make disparaging comments on the subject would have been noted. It is only a matter of time before they are rounded up and sent for reeducation.

  25. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    Plans to take action

    Except against their own toxic scripts on 3rd party websites with the [F] logo (sane admins just put a logo and link).

    Except against their own abuse of users with "You may know" and "You may be interested"

    Their own data harvesting

    Their own disregard of EU laws.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could this be a cover story for election fraud?

    If the public can be persuaded to believe the rest of the population (esp. political opposition) are easily manipulated, they will feel powerless as more policies are implemented that reduce our freedoms (gun control, hate speech, trade tarifs etc). This will benefit the few over the many and can be forced through using electoral fraud, but blamed on the opposition block who have been deceived via social media. This could be just the tool the "elite" need to push through unpopular policies, if they have us headed into a draconian / conflict situation.

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