back to article Facebook exec extracts foot from mouth: We didn't really mean growth matters more than human life

Facebook held a press conference on Thursday to provide details about its efforts to prevent electoral manipulation, only to have its damage control eclipsed by the publication of an executive's internal memo from 2016 suggesting growth mattered more than human life. Acknowledging that Facebook had been used "to divide …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Nate Amsden

    all those billions in profits

    Buys a lot of stress relief for those executives.

    Not sure if it's a new thing that came out of the silicon valley area or if it was thought of long before, but the saying goes, it's easier to ask for forgiveness afterwards than ask for permission ahead of time.

    While I have no doubt facebook has a shadow profile of me stored I have never registered an account with the service, and have been blocking their cookies for a decade or more(along with 13,800 other hosts and domains that don't have the word facebook in them).

    Same goes for all other social media except LinkedIn where I have maintained an account though I take care not to feed them any behavioral information beyond what would be in my resume.

    1. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: all those billions in profits

      What you care to hand over to these fuckers is one thing, but uploading your SMS records is pure theft of personal data.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: all those billions in profits

      "it's easier to ask for forgiveness afterwards than ask for permission ahead of time."

      Closer to home than expected. Attributed to Grace Hopper (1986) "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.".

      The motto of all skunk works.

    3. BillG
      Devil

      Re: all those billions in profits

      Bosworth said he was just trying to be provocative. "I don't agree with the post today and I didn't agree with it even when I wrote it,"

      What a steaming pile of public relations dung.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        @BillG -- Re: all those billions in profits

        Bosworth said he was just trying to be provocative. "I don't agree with the post today and I didn't agree with it even when I wrote it,"

        What a steaming pile of public relations cover-your-ass (CYA) dung.

        There. FTFY.

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    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Church-of-Facebook - Is this a Cult or what?

    The Church-of-Facebook - Is this a Cult or what?

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/30/17179100/facebook-memo-leaks-boz-andrew-bosworth

    ~~~

    Dear Facebook Employees:

    ~~~

    You are a Cult! The self-righteous defensive attitude above is sickening. Just how many creepy emotion influencing behavior experiments have you conducted by now? What about your offers of selling data on vulnerable teenagers to Australian banks etc, remember that???

    C'mon, lets hear more: 'users have control over their privacy' and 'privacy is important to FB' bs... When the data from the 50m breach is no longer under your control. And your disingenuous statements about not using 'Data-Brokers' anymore for Ad-targeting, but still using them for measuring Ad effectiveness or whatever rubbish - We know the real goal: Total data dominance of Online and Offline user data, sold to the highest and lowest bidder, just so Facebook can reach growth targets. Then we can look forward to 'unique tailored pricing' on everything that's sold on planet earth:

    https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-do-advertisers-track-you-online-we-found-out/

    Followers of 'Our Great Leader Zuk' - You only see what you want to see. Its time to admit to your CRIMES Zuk, time to admit your LIES, even to YOURSELF. Oh no wait, you can't, because you're a true sociopath!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply'

      So deeply that you freely sold users data, but don't know to who or how often...

      Facebook is the biggest mass experiment ever conducted on humans... Its a honey pot that gets users to sign-up - 'connect for free'. In return they get data sucked out of them by a vampire who connects them with --- Advertisers. Who wins? Investors... Meanwhile users frequently get to enjoy clickbait, fakenews, loaded stories, dodgy emotional profiling, bullying, intimidation, harassment and of course election rigging...

      Facebook is about exploiting the weak / the naive. Users drip feed information over time making Facebook into an untouchable too-big-to-fail data-broker... But, did any Zuck 'family data' get leaked in the breach? Bet not!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Facebook is about exploiting the weak / the naive."

        Of course. But to achieve it, you need the "connections". That't why they are so obsessed with "connecting people", data in isolation are far less useful and far less influential.

        It's this level of penetration inside the society system that is really fearsome. In many ways, far deeper than dictatorships and religions ever achieved, with the same aim - tell people what to think to dominate them.

    2. beep54
      Unhappy

      Re: The Church-of-Facebook - Is this a Cult or what?

      We knew what Zuck thought of his marks from day one. I believe 'stupid fucks' or the equivalent was expressed. Why is anyone even surprised?

  5. FuzzyWuzzys
    Facepalm

    Social media is just very boring computer game

    "fake identities, fake audiences, fake facts, and fake narratives."

    Social media, the biggest smoke and mirrors show ever. Full of fake people, posting fake "news" about their fake lives in an attempt to lure in fake friends to share their fake online lives, that are infinitely more interesting than the humdrum, boring existence they live in the real world.

    Social media sites are really just MMOs, vast sprawling game play areas where the rule is simply, be the biggest lying prat you can be online. Get as many friends and adoration as you can earn by lying and posting the most outrageous shite, then maybe, just maybe you too can earn big money from sponsors who will pay you to lure in even more gullible dickheads.

    We make jokes about the Matrix being a mind-prison, this is where is starts. People escaping the real world into the online social media world of BS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Social media is just very boring computer game

      For you and me - yes. For the powers of the day - no.

      Facebook and Google solved the problem of correlating multiple identities into one more than a decade ago.

      The fact that you run multiple profiles for them is just another bit of information about you. One they share too.

  6. Iain W

    Cess pit of organisation.

  7. JakeMS
    Alert

    Blown Over

    I'd say once all this has blown over it would be safe to assume that Facebook will go back to doing what they've always done.

    I mean sure they'll tell you that they've changed, that they do what they can to protect your privacy. But they've always said this. It didn't stop them then and it won't stop them in the future.

  8. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Stop

    ....

    "Facebook product manager Samidh Chakrabart said it blocks millions of fake account creation attempts every day "

    Good, that will save me the bother of creating one.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bosworth said he was just trying to be provocative.

    Sure he was, let me be provocative and say I hope Facebook dies a horrible death along with the rest of them.

    All these "new" tech companies are as bad as each other. How did we get the point where a corporation puts growth above human life and feels that it's ok to actually state the fact?

    The world needs a hard reset.

    1. 404 Silver badge

      Re: Bosworth said he was just trying to be provocative.

      'The world needs a hard reset.'

      We need definitions here. A hard reset like Dinosaur Killer Meteor or a solar flare that wipes out all electronics/electricity? One resets to molecular level, the other just thins the herd.

      Which?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bosworth said he was just trying to be provocative.

        okies, you hold the power button for five seconds to do a hard reset so I propose holding your breathe for five minutes, this can be done via a viral video on social media explaining you move to the next level of evolution should you manage it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bosworth said he was just trying to be provocative.

        Full nuke and pave.

        On second thoughts, about the only doomsday scenario that would reset evolution to late Ordovician would be something like an oxygen crisis that causes O2 to drop below 7% very quickly,

        That would pretty much finish off anything more advanced than pond scum but would quickly replenish itself if CO2 remained constant.

        1. Jedit
          Big Brother

          "That would pretty much finish off anything more advanced than pond scum"

          What's the point if it still wouldn't get rid of Facebook executives?

  10. SVV Silver badge

    Facebook takes electoral interference seriously

    Of course they do. It makes them a fortune, and they are providing the bestest tools available for the job. Gosh. by feedng people "news" of varying degrees of factual integrity to suit what you've detected to be their own confirmation bias, why you must almost be surprised that they get addicted to the way it makes them feel validated in their views and keeps them coming back for more and more fixes so you can keep advertising at them.

    As for the "I didn't agree with it when I was writing it" : damn those hands for having suh different morals from your good self. Who knows what other foul deeds they get up to that you don't approve of?

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "I didn't agree with it even when I wrote it"

    Um, sorry but no, you cannot use that as an excuse. Nobody ever writes something they disagree with unless they are working for the President or a candidate to the presidency. Even then, if you really disagree, you're supposed to resign your position.

    While I am writing something, if I disagree with myself then I correct what I'm writing. When I've posted, I am 100% certain that I wrote what I wanted to say. I fail to see how one can disagree with what one wrote but go ahead and post it anyway. It just never happens.

    Oh sure, 12 minutes later I might be slapping my forehead and calling myself names for posting whatever it was I posted, but when I wrote it, I was happy with it.

  12. Chris G Silver badge

    "I didn't agree with it when I was writing it"

    Does this twat think so little of the rest of the world that he thinks they would believe this bullshit?

    The correct description for what Facebook does is AntiSocial Media, it does nothing positive for society.

    As for many of the staff, going by some of their comments, bunch of silly cultists.

    1. homerjsimpson

      Re: "I didn't agree with it when I was writing it"

      This. I totally agree, this guy is showing absolute contempt. He and Zuk genuinely think they are above normal laws, both legal and moral. I truely hope Karma gives them a visit.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: "I didn't agree with it when I was writing it"

      If he's doing stuff that goes against his "ethics" (does any exec know that word?) then really needs to move on. But then, bonuses, perks, etc. will not be his from FB. Someone else will jump right up, suck it up and feed at the gravy train.

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Now, none of us can turn back the clock, but we are all responsible for making sure the same kind of attack our democracy does not happen again,"

    Translation 1: This kind of electoral interference didn't make us enough money. We'll charge a lot more next time.

    Translation 2: We got in trouble for interfering with our elections. In future we restrict that to other peoples' elections.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Translation 3: Let's make sure next time they can't trace it back to us.

  14. theloon

    Andrew Bosworth - FB VP - People dying due to FB's is just cost of business, so lets carry on

    FB's business practices are truly despicable, and the more we discover the worse it gets. Therefore I decided want no more part in this company and their platform, or to any longer be their 'product'.

    For those who might continue to use FB's platform, I would urge you to consider why you would do so. In real life, would you, your children or friends honestly continue association with people such the owners /execs of FB, who have such extraordinary contempt / disregard for you and yours?

    Why continue to feed the extreme wealth and ego of Zuckerberg and friends, knowing now of their calculating and callous behavior against society, and as we read today and not denied, even for your physical safety.

    Yep, I thought not.

    #terminateFBaccount

    #FBculpablehomicide

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cressida Dick

    Senior UK police officer, is suggesting that the raised incidence of knife crime in London is because social media makes it so easy for teenage arguments to get blown out of proportion.

    Certainly use of extreme language is on the rise, and the politicians and the tabloids are to blame as well. But Facebook and Twitter facilitate conflict in a way that the traditional, responsible press didn't. The green ink letters got spiked; now they get published.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Cressida Dick

      We don't generally stop things that kill people. The automotive, aeronautical and armament industries continue to thrive. We make a judgement about whether their usefulness outweighs their disadvantages.

      Whether facebook is something so good that we can ignore the deaths it might cause is less apparent, but despite disliking it (and not using it myself), I don't really think we want to reduce interpersonal conflict by restricting communication. It doesn't feel like a good solution.

      Is there something specific to social media that makes it worse ? I don't think so. Email is social media. Usenet is social media. The only thing that distinguishes facebook is the ubiquity - the tragedy of the commons. Perhaps the commercial pressure makes that worse, but it would happen eventually to anything popular.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Cressida Dick

        Whether facebook is something so good that we can ignore the deaths it might cause is less apparent, but despite disliking it (and not using it myself), I don't really think we want to reduce interpersonal conflict by restricting communication. It doesn't feel like a good solution.

        The problem lies in the fact that abuse on social media is, to all intents and purposes, anonymous, and unhampered. That is an abuser / groomer / bully is effectively unpunishable and unstoppable, unless they go so far as to require immediate police intervention. And even then it's pretty difficult for the police to get hold of them. And it's not like the social networks are very good at helping the police, or sufficiently proactive themselves.

        Governments are becoming increasingly aware of the financial cost resulting from this (mental health problems, poor performance in school, police time), and the UK government has plans to pass this cost directly on to the social media companies. The memo that has leaked makes any legislation required more or less certain to be passed, especially when coupled with the aggressive tax efficient accounting policies used by these companies.

        Facebook have seriously f***ed up, confirmed by this memo. Bye bye profits. How do advertisers justify placing ads with such a company? Advertising on Facebook is now more toxic for a brand than ever before. The recent changes in the Communications Decency Act is another nail in their coffin. How about that for growth and shareholder value? Facebook's shareholders should start suing the board now, whilst there's any money left.

        About the only sane course of action now is for companies like this to require paid subscriptions to access their services. This serves to strongly identify users, and the ease with which legal liability can then be passed on to users warranting prosecution (or other retribution - bans, etc) will soon act as a detterent again misbehaviour. The comapnies that start adapting to this model soonest may survive. Those that don't risk extinction.

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: Cressida Dick

          It's all very well to blame companies whose business models allow users to broadcast their racist etc. views more easily, especially when they make a profit out of that broadcast, but the problem is still with the users.

          Ideally, I would like anyone to be able to express an opinion however they like, and not be limited by whether a publisher wishes to restrict publication. And they should not have to put themselves at risk by publicising their personal details. Again, I hate to defend facebook, but don't they attempt to have their users use their real names ? Unlike most others.

          I accept that this causes a problem when the opinion offered is inflammatory and the person hides behind anonymity. But it's the essence of free speech, isn't it ? The problem with filtering at the publisher level is that most publishers - like the right-wing newspaper proprieters of the past - have their own agenda.

          I'm all for finding a way to make people responsible for their foul views. This is what happens face-to-face : in a mob, racist views get echoed, but in normal society the minority is shouted down. I honestly don't know what the solution to this is, but am sure that having commercial agents filter it is a bad idea.

          I'm honestly quite surprised that I've got downvotes for that posting. Thank you for posting your argument : I'd be glad to hear arguments from all the downvoters. As I understand it, it's that people should not be allowed to express their opinions openly but should have to go through a gateway operated by an unelected operator. I agree that that would reduce the output but I can't agree that it's a good solution. Even if you accept that free speech should be restricted to 'acceptable' speech, I can't agree that either commercial operators or the government are fit for the purpose of defining 'acceptable'.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Cressida Dick

            My freedom to swing my arm stops at your nose. The problem with FB is that many of the users either don't grasp this or just flat ignore to seek attention. We can blame the platform but the real blame is the way those abuse it were raised. Fix that and you can fix a lot of ills in this world. Yes, freedom of speech exists in the US however, there are laws that modify that such "inciting a riot", "death threats", etc. But until the parenting issue is solved and the ability to track down an abusive, threatening person is sorted and applied, don't expect change.

            Freedom of speech comes with a lot of responsibility.

          2. bazza Silver badge

            Re: Cressida Dick

            @Adrian4,

            ...I can't agree that either commercial operators or the government are fit for the purpose of defining 'acceptable'.

            In case you hadn't noticed, it is the job of politicians to decide what speech is acceptable. They make the laws on these matters on our behalf, interpreting the message they're told by the voters that out them there. Hence the laws on discrimination, race relations, hate speech, terrorist materials, etc. Such laws set out penalties for breaching the limits on speech. Facebook et al make it very difficult for such laws to be rigorously enforced, and are quite happy to profit from it.

            If you don't agree with the politicians doing that job, I suggest you move to a less democratic country where someone else makes the rules.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You Are What You Eat

    It's connecting people at any cost that gives us things like Facebook and The Human Centipede.

  17. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Trollface

    Why are all the troll icons upside down?

    Wait.....

    The date.

    Ah!

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Why are all the troll icons upside down?

      Try clicking on the icon...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why are all the troll icons upside down?

      Y Australia day, every April 1st

  18. scrubber

    "I don't agree with it now because it's bad optics"

    He was correct. Enabling the sharing of ideas is way more important than human life. I believe that's the principle of the first amendment and why various US wars were fought.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. revenant Silver badge

    "suggesting growth mattered more than human life"

    I don't read Bosworth's first memo as "suggesting growth mattered more than human life". He seemed to be going out of his way to make Facebook employees realise that blunt and 'ugly' truth - that, to Facebook, expanding connections is de facto 'Good', even if people die as a consequence. He was calling out Facebook's amoral nature, rather than advocating it. Why, though? It would be very interesting to see the sort of responses he got: denial/'ends justifying means'/'can't make an omelette without breaking eggs'/etc.

    Maybe he was just testing to see how many amoral a-holes Facebook had currently working for them?

  20. Cynicalmark
    FAIL

    What a mess

    It has shown that FB has a large number of either execs who value profit over doing what is right or they are just idiots without a clue. I think imho it is the former with a smattering of the latter.

    As for active hunt for fake profiles -hands up thousands of peeps who have agonisingly had to go through their piss poor report procedure. My sister in law had two fakers use her pics, the profiles claimed she was an Apple sales exec living in Dubai selling ..... wait for it ......Used Samsung phones. Ffs only a moron would think the profile was honest.

    She reported it and FB said she was the faker and these profiles were genuine(they then blocked her profile and let the fakers stay)- yup what a shower of @55hol5.

    Many fake sales profiles may be generating profits for criminal reasons & FB took 6 months and a passport to prove she was the real person. They are biased for revenue and nothing more.

    Made me delete my old profile.

    1. jdoe.700101

      Re: What a mess

      I had a similar issue a couple of years ago, using details from my LinkedIn account. Not having a Facebook account didn't help, but after the third account appeared, the following request fixed the problem permanently:

      "Could you please let me know what you require, in order to divulge all contact information (ip, email addresses, etc...) about the creator of these accounts, so that I may file a formal complaint with the appropriate authorities?"

      Knowing what we know now, they have plenty of information to track such requests back to physical device.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally..

    I see little difference between FB "false news" and that found in newspapers TV, film, religions, politics etc

    They all lie to make money and use their membership to lever democracy to grab power from the minority with a clue.

    Fact is people generally are stupid and willfully ignorant, it could be said that they get what they deserve

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Personally..

      Yep, social media is an echo chamber, but there's no bigger one than your (least) favourite newspaper.

  22. sjsmoto

    Seems like Facebook should buy Uber or vice versa, their ethics are identical.

  23. 2Nick3

    I quit Facebook for Lent...

    ...which means I go back today. Not sure if I'm happy about that yet or not, but I'm kind of leaning toward not...

  24. PhilipN Silver badge

    *de facto* good

    That has to be a candidate for the most obnoxious and shocking expression I have ever heard.

    1. snoggs
      Headmaster

      Re: *de facto* good

      Or at least the most ignorantly pretentious. I suppose that he meant *ipso facto*.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a bit shit

    Isn't it?

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