Zeynep Tufekci, Associate Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and regular New York Times contributor, authored the op-ed “Facebook’s Surveillance Machine” just days after Cambridge Analytica’s data siphoning became front-page news.
Tufekci breaks down how the voter-profiling company harvested data from about 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge and usually without their direct consent. She further explains how Facebook’s business model makes it ripe for this sort of exploitation.
“If Facebook failed to understand that this data could be used in dangerous ways, that it shouldn’t have let anyone harvest data in this manner and that a third-party ticking a box on a form wouldn’t free the company from responsibility, it had no business collecting anyone’s data in the first place,” Tufekci writes “But the vast infrastructure Facebook has built to obtain data, and its consequent half-a-trillion-dollar market capitalization, suggest that the company knows all too well the value of this kind of vast data surveillance”
Tufekci has raised alarms about Facebook’s approach to data collection before, specifically in “Facebook’s Ad Scandal Isn’t a ‘Fail,’ It’s a Feature” Her most recent TED Talk also examines how data-driven algorithms developed for advertising products can be easily used by governments and other powers to control people’s beliefs and behaviors. Watch the talk below or click here.