zeynep tufekci @zeynep Thinking about our tools, ourselves. @UNCSILS prof + @NYTimes writer. Newsletter: t.co/klJwJ6vkB5 Book: t.co/RmMouki39B Apr. 09, 2018

Many people asked me what lawmakers should ask Mark Zuckerberg. Here's my answer: Nothing. Instead, they should get to work and pass legislation to fix the reckless surveillance in the digital economy. In my latest NYT oped, I suggest four concrete steps:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/opinion/zuckerberg-testify-congress.html 

Right now, data about us is collected recklessly without reasonable limits, aggregated without controls, bought and sold, occasionally breached, harvested, siphoned and leaked—and used without oversight. Maybe data is the new oil, but like oil, it can pollute, spill and poison.

Now, I wouldn't mind more details on everything but I'm an academic & a curious person. But I don't see what there is for Zuckerberg to answer that will substantively clarify anything. Was it 50 million or 87 or a more than billion? (likely latter, by the way but who's counting?)

Also, my piece is about Facebook but the data collection/retention/use oversight would help the whole digital economy. Also, in reality, one risk is that regulation *entrenches* the power of the existing giants. Have to address that, too, through interoperability and antitrust.

I do, I do. I don't see why we, as a society, cannot decide that this much data retention and hidden-to-us targeting as a business model is not acceptable. There is an alternative digital economy out there if we legislate and invest in it.

That said, earlier I gave some suggestions to @alexismadrigal for his piece on what Congress should ask. I think the computational inference part of our digital economy is least understood—and pretty potent stuff.

I'm collating some of my latest writings for my newsletter (going out shortly); I'm include a link to the longer, rough-cut draft of the above op-ed. (Partly because I get such requests sometimes—to show the 😬😱😬😱writing process.) (Link to newsletter:  https://tinyletter.com/zeynepnotes )

Now, asking for these kinds of pledges would be interesting... Good thread, too.

Oookay, this is a twist. Apps like that of Cambridge Analytica at some point had access to private messages on Facebook? I didn't know this. When and how many? If so, everyone's messages must have been harvested. CA was just one app among thousands & more.

Weeeeelllll. I ordinarily prefer reading transcripts. I have a feeling that any "media" moments will be on loop. 😬

Zuckerberg, just now: "There will always be a *version* of Facebook that's free."

That's a huge shift if it is not a slip of the tongue. I doubt it. That was an obvious question he'd be prepared for.

I think Facebook is pondering a shift to non-ad model, at least as an option.

Btw this is my @Wired article about the 14-year apology tour that Sen. Thune just referenced. My key point is that all this isn't about Zuckerberg personally; these downsides are intrinsic to the business model.  https://www.wired.com/story/why-zuckerberg-15-year-apology-tour-hasnt-fixed-facebook/ 

This one gets me the maddest. Facebook had no excuse being so negligent about Myanmar. Here's me tweeting about it IN 2013. PEOPLE HAVE BEGGED FACEBOOK FOR YEARS TO BE PRO-ACTIVE IN BURMA/MYANMAR. Now he's hiring "dozens". This is a historic wrong. 😡🤬🤬

With this question: does Facebook have real competition? Nope. There is no real alternative to Facebook: no substantive competition, no real market discipline on the company. It's simple as that.

I'm stuck on the Myanmar/Burma answer. Now hiring "dozens..." 😡😡It's the second biggest refugee generating crisis in the world; an accelerating ethnic cleansing where Facebook played an instrumental role over many years, with articles written on this, people raising alarms...

Look, Senators have smart people briefing them, and they have tried to ask reasonable questions. But they often get lost in the details and that's the point. An ordinary person *cannot* meaningfully consent to this level of complexity and obscurity.

Zuckerberg: ~"I hope what we do with data is not surprising to people." When I explain to people what Facebook does with the data and also how it collects and aggregates data on people, people's jaws are on the floor. Smart, educated people, too. It's all very obscure.

So, the fact that he didn't clarify means that Facebook would use Messenger content in targeting? (He just hung on to the fact that WhatsApp is end-to-end encryption). Anyone know?

I want to repeat this: the full scope of the amount of data collection, aggregation and retention Facebook does is shocking to most people, and I am certain any poll or research would affirm this. People do not understand because they cannot. It is buried, obscure, complex.

Hearings touching upon real issues. What does it mean to be neutral? What's hate speech? What level of verification certifies "authentic"? Those aren't question for Zuckerberg to answer. They're political questions *we* should discuss & tell him—and all tech companies—what to do.

Zuckerberg on not Facebook selling data, my piece points out why that is a red herring as far as Facebook is concerned. It collects and hoards data, and sells not data but *us* and *our attention*—it is in Facebook's interests not to sell data.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/opinion/zuckerberg-testify-congress.html 

Anyone gonna ask about the newsfeed algorithm? Guess not.

Got my sympathy moment for Zuckerberg's honest answer to whether he can assure Senators that every last ad/content from Russia is off the platform. Not only is that not realistic, honesty wish there was more focus on the domestic conditions that fueled the online manipulation.

The questions almost all start good—staffers briefed them well—and then devolve into misunderstandings. So telling. This is failure of us as media and tech press and pundits, and obfuscation and complexity as practiced by Facebook—indeed, most of tech.

Business interests vs. human interests. When history of all this is written, Myanmar will be a piece that won’t be ignored. Some of this *is* complex. That was an egregious shrugging of responsibility. They should have made it a giant priority in 2013.

Or—Myanmar is the one issue I think about most. Introducing virality to an ethnically-tense situation with few counter-balancing institutions is potent. Not a game. We have billions more coming online.

I'm half-expecting Zuckerberg to break into a song today... "You don't understand what power is... You don't understand what glory is..." 🎶🎵🎶🎶  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uHpmtAGmvo 

Zuckerberg keeps saying that you have control over what other people you share stuff with on Facebook. Sure. THE QUESTION IS HOW WE KEEP FACEBOOK FROM COLLECTING DATA ON US. Facebook tracks us online, offline, on and off the platform, cross-device and even BUYS external data.🙄🙄

He did a pretty good job pronouncing it! Also, few know the correct pronunciation, so no baseline, no worries. 😀 (FWIW it's T-ew-f-ah-k-chee or T-oo-f-ah-k-chee. The u is like the French ü, and the k is hard k and the c is actually ç so ch sound.)

Aah, she was just asking about computational inference and external data, and Zuck is dodging and talking about pictures you take and "we don't sell your data" dog-and-pony show. Facebook track us, uses data + algorithms to infer things about us, and then sells that as targeting!

That last answer: everything Facebook has on you is available on the download to which Zuckerberg said "yes": really? I don't think the data they purchase on you or the data from tracking pixels etc. is on there.


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