OMG — 2018 was a disastrous year for Facebook. From appalling data breaches, privacy violations, and censorship offenses to deplorable minority prejudices and Russian influence peddling. In the spirit of the season and as an ode to the holiday classic, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” let’s look back at the most unhinged moments for this rapidly imploding entity.
The 12 Days of Facebook:
Twelve states a suing
In December, Google and Facebook were ordered by a Washington state judge to pay $455,000 in campaign finance violations for failing to obey the state law on political-ad transparency. According to the law, companies are required to maintain detailed records about who pays for online political ads on their platforms. Apparently, Facebook has learned little since the 2016 presidential election.
Eleven reporters writing
Facebook got caught targeting users who like pro-LGBTQ pages with conversion therapy ads. Facebook subsequently removed the ads, but only after being publicly called out for its inexcusable actions against the LGBTQ community by their members and reporters. Facebook also began censoring users for using LGBTQ terms such as “top” and “bottom.”
Ten groups a griping
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called for a weeklong boycott of Facebook after learning that the social network let Russian hackers target African Americans in the 2016 election with the goal of suppressing voter turnout and stirring racial divisions. The civil rights organization also returned donations it had recently received from Facebook.
Nine leaders leaving
Influential tech columnist Walt Mossberg recently announced that Facebook’s actions make him uncomfortable and as a result, he’d be leaving the platform. Celebrities such as Cher, Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey did the same earlier this year. Mozilla, which runs the Firefox web browser, pulled its advertisements in protest of how Facebook lets third-party apps handle data. Elon Musk deleted his companies’ SpaceX and Tesla Facebook pages. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak dropped Facebook in protest of how the social media site treats its users. Playboy suspended its activity. And finally, famous Bollywood actor, Farhan Akhtar told his 11M+ Twitter followers that he was leaving too.
Eight brokers breaking
Facebook’s stock has lost more than 30 percent of its value from 2018’s record high. Some of this has come from people fearing the company’s survival while others have sold their shares in protest of the company’s behavior. Close to 200 billion dollars in shareholder value has been lost. They’re trying to shore up the price buying back $13 billion dollars of it themselves . . .
Seven bugs a bugging
A June bug caused a glitch that publicly published the posts of 14 million users that were supposed to be private. As Facebook does every time it has a glitch, it issued an apology. What it didn’t do was take any action to prevent something similar from happening again. The result is that when you close one bug door, another one or six open.
Six million stolen
Facebook admitted in September that it had been infected with a bug that may have affected up to 6.8 million people who used a Facebook login and gave permission to third-party apps to access their photos. Although the bug has since been fixed, third-party apps may have had access to a wide set of personal photos for twelve days in September.
Five broken rules
In September, Facebook said accounts of nearly 50 million users were breached. It was the second largest breach in the company’s 14-year history. The attackers exploited a feature in Facebook’s code to gain access to user accounts and potentially take control of them.
Four haters hating
Human rights experts accused Facebook of playing a role in inciting genocide in Myanmar. U.N. Myanmar investigators said the government used Facebook to disseminate misinformation to the public. Myanmar military personnel left Facebook posts that helped turn the social network into a tool for ethnic cleansing, according to former military officials, researchers and civilian officials in the country.
Three founders going
Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum left Facebook this year and his position on its board after clashing with Facebook about how its users’ personal data was being used for advertising and how proposed changes would weaken WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption. Koum’s fellow co-founder, Brian Acton, left in 2017. On top of that, Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, finally had enough and left too. Oh — and Instagram’s founders resigned from Facebook too.
Two surprise shares
The New York Times reported that Facebook had shared personal data with more than 150 companies, including tech businesses, automakers and media organizations — through apps on its platform. Spotify, Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada for example, were able to read, write and delete Facebook users’ private messages, and to see everyone on a message thread. Spotify was able to look at messages of more than 70 million users a month.
And Cambridge Analytica in a pear tree
In March, it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had harvested 87 million Facebook users’ personal data without their consent and their CEO claimed they amassed data on and targeted 220 million Americans, including non-Facebook users. The information was used for political purposes to help the Trump campaign in the 2016 election. And on Christmas Eve, 2018, Director of Intelligence Dan Coats reported that Russia, China, and Iran attempted to influence the 2018 elections. OMG!
Since Facebook has been especially naughty this year, here is the bonus 13th Day of Facebook:
13 leaders lying
In November, the New York Times revealed the extent to which Facebook’s leaders have lied and tried to cover up Facebook’s infractions. It was exposed that Facebook knew about Russian meddling on their platform for over a year before sharing this news with the public. Facebook even hired a PR firm to push negative stories about Facebook’s critics, including trying to smear George Soros — and all other prominent voices calling them out.
While the leaders at Facebook undoubtedly deserve coal in their stocking this year, remarkably, all signs point to them continuing their egregious behavior in 2019.
What to do . . . Merry Christmas, enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, and — oh yeah — #DeleteFacebook!
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MeWe has no ads, no spyware, no targeting, no political bias, no newsfeed manipulation, no boosted fake news, and NO BS. MeWe is advised by the inventor of the Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and its CEO, Mark Weinstein, is a leading privacy advocate and social media pioneer. MeWe members are #Not4Sale!