Is Facebook Evil?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


The more I read about Facebook, the more I really don’t like Facebook. I’m way behind the curve on this stuff, but the other day I read a post about privacy settings and realized just how little I know about it. I’ve always been pretty sparse with my Facebook account, so I’m not really worried about my darkest secrets becoming public or anything, but after reading this and then following the links I went in and changed a whole bunch of settings that had made my preferences available to third parties at Facebook’s whim. I had no idea these settings even existed. Then today I read this. “There is something seriously wrong with their business ethics,” says Thomas Baekdal, “when they even contemplate publishing content that was previously marked private.”

Ya think? As near as I can tell, Facebook’s business model is to periodically chip away at privacy settings, wait for the inevitable blowup, maybe give up a little bit of what they changed, and then wait for the fuss to blow over. Then six months later do it all over again. Rinse and repeat. Slowly but surely, they’ll be able to monetize every last bit of our lives and we’ll all be so tired we won’t even care. Or even notice.

I know I’m a dinosaur about this stuff, and maybe David Brin is right that privacy is a lost cause and we should all forget about thinking we have any, but I’m not ready to give in yet. I’ve been careful with Facebook in the past, but I think I’m going to be downright paranoid about it in the future.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate