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How Facebook Lied About the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Executive Summary

  • Facebook broke its user privacy policy with Cambridge Analytica.
  • After caught red-handed, it then lied again about what it changed in response to the scandal.

Introduction

As Facebook faces a DOJ lawsuit for monopolistic behavior, what will happen is Facebook’s business model will be highlighted to more of a degree than before. Facebook has a long history of deceiving its users, and what they said after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke is just another example of Facebook lying to users and regulators.

See our references for this article and other articles on Facebook at this link.

How Facebook Lied About Cambridge Analytica

The following is from the Amnesty International report on Big Tech surveillance.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Google and Facebook have both tightened their policies around political advertising, including measures to increase transparency around who’s paying for the advertising, and ‘Ad Libraries’ disclosing political advert. However, an analysis by Privacy International found that to date these measures have been inadequate, and inconsistently applied in different countries, so that most users around the world “lack meaningful insight into how ads are being targeted through these platforms”. A separate analysis by Mozilla researchers also found Facebook’s tool to be inadequate.

Fundamentally, the business model’s dependence on profiling and targeting for advertising means that these capabilities will continue to be exploited by third parties, including political campaigns.

Vice also claims it was threatened with a lawsuit from Vice. However, nothing Vice wrote was incorrect.

Facebook Pretended it Did Not Understand What Happened

The following describes this presentation to the media.

Company officials allegedly pointed reporters to false statements published by Cambridge Analytica itself. They feigned a lack of awareness of how the firm improperly harvested tens of millions of users’ data. And they publicly said that an internal inquiry into the data breach had found no wrongdoing when it had.

This is textbook Facebook. It lies and then lies about factual items.

Securities and Exchange Commission officials leveled the accusations in a complaint detailing how Facebook misled investors about the scope of Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of user data. But the feds’ claims that the company repeatedly lied to the public as well make its latest apology tour even more awkward. – Vice

Hmm, that is curious. Even the SEC accuses Facebook of lying. That is relatively rare. And the Department of Justice also has accused Facebook of lying to investigators, as is explained in the following quotation.

Prior to today, the investigation focused solely on Cambridge Analytica and did not include Facebook itself. Now, federal authorities want to know whether Facebook made false or misleading public statements about its sharing of information with Cambridge Analytica, a firm with connections to the campaign of President Donald Trump that purchased the personal information of as many as 87 million Facebook users from a psychology professor named Aleksandr Kogan. Kogan obtained that data by using Facebook’s generous third-party API to glean information from users — and those users’ friends — who logged into a quiz app he created. Facebook confirmed to The Washington Post that it’s cooperating with the federal agencies involved. – The Verge

Vice also claims it was threatened with a lawsuit from Vice. However, nothing Vice wrote was incorrect.

Facebook receives our Golden Pinocchio Award for how it lied about its response to Cambridge Analytica’s violation of user privacy. 

Facebook Threatens The Guardian

After threatening Vice, Facebook then threatened The Guardian, as is explained in the following quotation.

Issuing a warning to the Guardian Media Group ahead of its publication of an exposé of mass Facebook data harvesting was not the wisest move, one of the social networking giant’s senior executives has said.

Addressing the FT Future of News conference, Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, said: “If it were me I would have probably not threatened to sue the Guardian,” adding it was “not our wisest move”.

GMG received a legal letter from Facebook the day before the Observer reported that a company harvested as many as 50m Facebook profiles of US voters for Cambridge Analytica and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

This demonstrates that Facebook is not only a company that lies but one filled with thugs who threatened to use the legal system to stop accurate information about their behavior from getting out.

Conclusion

Why did anyone believe Facebook on any topic? Our articles have chronicled systematic lying on the part of Facebook. For Facebook, lying is a major component of their business model.