NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Sandy Parakilas, who worked as an operations manager on the platform team at Facebook in 2011 and 2012. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Parakilas says Facebook cannot be trusted to regulate itself.
A bit “I-told-you-so” without any indication of how hard he may have fought for better handling of the data, but there were certainly others outside the company decrying their practices at the time.
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There’s a lot going on here and a lot to unpack for such a short episode. This presents an outline at best of what I’m sure was 10 or more hours of work. One day soon, I hope, we’ll have some better automated tools for exporting data from Facebook and doing something actually useful with it.
This first half of the episode was originally recorded in March, abruptly ended, and then was not completed until April due to scheduling.
It’s been reported that Cambridge Analytica has improperly taken and used data from Facebook users in an improper manner, an event which has called into question the way that Facebook handles data. David Shanske and I discuss some of the implications from an IndieWeb perspective and where you might go if you decide to leave Facebook.
The originating articles that kicked off the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica issue:
You’ve made the decision to leave Facebook? Your next question is likely to be: to move where? Along with the links above, we’ve compiled a short list of IndieWeb-related places that might make solid options.
Micro.blog for $5/month (or bring your own web site for free)
I’m not sure why it didn’t exist before, but given the events of the past month I’m utterly shocked that neither WordPress, Automattic, nor the community have built an importer to allow people to easily put their Facebook data export into a WordPress website.
I’m a big proponent of owning the data that you create. I use WordPress (of course) wherever I blog, and I use the Keyring Social Importers plugin to make backup copies of my Twitter updates and Foursquare checkins. And as of today, I am also syncing my Facebook updates back to a private WordPress blog using Keyring Social Importers.
Not familiar with Keyring Social Importers? That’s too bad, it’s amazing. Install it, and within minutes, you can be importing data from any one of a dozen sites to your blog. Remember all of that data you put into Myspace/Jaiku/Bebo/Pownce and how it disappeared when the site shut down? Wouldn’t it have been nice to be able to save a copy of all of that? That’s what Keyring Social Importers makes possible.
I was kind of hoping for something slightly different when I searched for something and found this, but it is interesting for those who don’t know about Keyring Social Importers and it had an interesting comments section.
I was looking for something in the range of a bulk Facebook Importer to exit Facebook altogether whereas this solution keeps you addicted to it. I would classify it more of a PESOS solution than a POSSE solution.
This photo is just too awesome for words. It almost makes up for the pitiful excuse for what these hearings actually represented. I’m hoping that they’re more politics than actual substance at the end of the day. The hearings are another great example of how completely disconnected our representation is to the actual world in which we live. The saddest part is that Mr. Data actually has some pre-programmed in morality while it seems that Zuckerberg doesn’t even have a shred.
Facebook has been secretly deleting messages sent on Messenger by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook claims it did nothing wrong, but it demonstrates a double-standard with regard to how the company see privacy.
It’s very telling that they have certain privacy policies for themselves and different ones for everyone else.
Shooting at YouTube Headquarters. Facebook's continuing kerfuffle. Apple snags Google's AI head. Chromebooks on school buses. Cheaper Pixel 3 on the way - but not for you. Trump vs. Amazon. Security breaches here, security breaches there, even in our underwear. Don't leave your pepperoni on the hotel balcony.
I think Roose humanizes Zuckerberg a bit too much in his discussion of his interview. Facebook has some of the best and brightest engineering talent and a multi-billion dollar war chest. They’ve known about their pending problem for quite a while now and should have long since begun building a remedy. The plain truth is that they’ve actively chosen not to. Worse, even with the swirling problems in the public consciousness, they’re not actively doing anything much to fix things after-the-fact other than paying it some lip service. If Zuckerberg is as seemingly naive as Roose suggests, he needs to be removed from his position.
I’m coming much closer to calling it quits on Facebook. I’ve outlined a plan for extracting myself and just need to begin implementation. I’ve even got a potential scalable plan for family/friends who would like to leave as well.
I actually feel like my remaining on the platform is subsidizing keeping many third world people on it, and the way Facebook has been and is operating in many other countries it becomes a moral issue which is forcing me to actively seek to leave it.
This essay begins in frustration. I’m looking for something but cannot find them. I know they were here among my things at one time but now that I need them, want to press them into service, they are gone. “They” happen to be a couple of books I read some years ago which I was certain would hold the keys to making sense of my now. When I read them around 2010 or 2012, they were pivotal for me (or so I imagine).
So there may be a delicious kind of irony that precisely these two books are missing.
After years of letting algorithms make up our minds for us, the time is right to go back to basics.
This article, which I’ve seen shared almost too widely on the internet since it came out, could almost have been written any time in the past decade really. They did do a somewhat better job of getting quotes from some of the big feed readers’ leaders to help to differentiate their philosophical differences, but there wasn’t much else here. Admittedly they did have a short snippet about Dave Winer’s new feedbase product, which I suspect, in combination with the recent spate of articles about Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, motivated the article. (By the way, I love OPML as much as anyone could, but feedbase doesn’t even accept the OPML feeds out of my core WordPress install though most feed readers do, which makes me wonder how successful feedbase might be in the long run without better legacy spec support.)
So what was missing from Wired’s coverage? More details on what has changed in the space in the past several years. There’s been a big movement afoot in the IndieWeb community which has been espousing a simpler and more DRY (don’t repeat yourself) version of feeds using simple semantic microformats markup like h-feed. There’s also been the emergence of JSON feed in the past year which many of the major feed readers already support.
On the front of people leaving Facebook (and their black box algorithmic monster that determines what you read rather than you making an implicit choice), they might have mentioned people who are looking for readers through which they can also use their own domains and websites where they own and maintain their own data for interaction. I’ve written about this in more depth last year: Feed reader revolution.
One of the more bleeding edge developments which I think is going to drastically change the landscape in the coming years for developers, feed readers, and the internet consumption space is the evolving Microsub spec which is being spearheaded by a group of projects known as the Aperture microsub server and the Together and Indigenous clients which already use it. Microsub is going to abstract away many of the technical hurdles that make it far more difficult to build a full-fledged feed reader. I have a feeling it’s going to level a lot of the playing field to allow a Cambrian explosion of readers and social related software to better leverage more easily reading content on the web without relying on third party black box services which people have been learning they cannot fully trust anymore. Aaron Parecki has done an excellent job of laying out some parts of it in Building an IndieWeb Reader as well as in recent episodes of his Percolator microcast. This lower hurdle is going to result in fewer people needing to rely solely on the biggest feed readers like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for both consuming content and posting their own content. The easier it becomes for people to use other readers to consume content from almost anywhere on the web, the less a monopoly the social networks will have on our lives.