For the first time, Facebook is being taken to the dock with serious criminal charges related to privacy and citizen surveillance.
By Achilles Fakatselis
At 9 next April, an unusual trial will take place in a court in Vienna. Twenty-five thousand European citizens lead the company that owns the social networking platform Facebook, with very serious accusations related to blatant violations of privacy, antisocial collaborations with government surveillance services, illegal interconnection of personal data and their use, and even psychological algorithms of entire social groups. Another 50.000 people from the rest of the world support the lawsuit, but for legal reasons they can not be represented at the Vienna court.
This is the first time that Facebook has been forced to open the curtains in front of its international audience, in order to evaluate its alleged illegal behind-the-scenes activity - if it is finally proven that there is such. It is also the first time in European judicial history that so many plaintiffs are flocking to a trial - with the exception of the popular courts of revolutionary times when peoples are judging their perpetrators. Of course, no court in the world, no matter how fair, can handle such a large crowd, so here we have an Austrian law firm that is happy to represent the plaintiffs in the case "Europe v. Facebook ».
And here, the bullshit begins: since the lawsuit was filed in August 2014, how did we get to 2015 and the Facebook crowd did not get the news? The 75.000 likes the case received (the sum of those who subscribe to the lawsuit) may be a small fraction of the global facebook population of 1,5 billion happy people who are constantly posting their private moments, but enough for to spread the news. This has certainly not happened, since the financial data published by the company itself proves it: in the last quarter of 2014, when people at work filled in something unpaid for years or took it out with starvation wages, facebook recorded net profits 670 million us dollars from a turnover of almost 4 billion, having increased its daily users by 18 percent compared to the same quarter of 2013.
On a normal planet of common sense, this could not happen. Because, when they tell you that they are taking advantage of you and even to your detriment, normally, you turn your back on them so that they do not take advantage of you anymore. On Facebook, however, this did not happen, either because the population did not know it (how is it possible?), Or because for some reason he did not care about learning it - anyway, neither is flattering.
The bad thing is that the mob on facebook has shown the same inaction in other cases where its dignity has been violated. Other times in the past the news about illegal uses of the personal data circulated and collected by the vast database of facebook was spread. But, even without breaking the bad news, there is a clear logical equation that raises reservations in the public mind - when one and a half billion people do the same thing, they will not go unnoticed, and this is exactly what happens on social media.
In other words, one and a half billion people who give real time to what they think, go, what they care about, and a whole lot of other personal data, of course, are not allowed to go untapped and all their information lost to the cyber matrix as if it were none useless e-trash.
The opposite, indeed.
For some, they are valuable elements, in every sense: for the mammoth company itself that hoards treasures by circulating the private chatter of its people, but also for the officials of the political administrators who, from the gray areas of legality, feed mysterious algorithms that make our life difficult now, and later more difficult. Algorithms, which (for anyone who did not understand), perfect the models for predicting the behavior of entire societies, achieving levels of repression and management that no one has ever imagined.
Meanwhile, everything shows that the mob of facebook, like any other mob on earth, believes that freedom is to say whatever you want, without fear. This is exactly the kind of people Goethe meant when he said that the most desperate slaves are those who think they are free. In its digital version, Goethe's thinking changes little, and becomes "the most desperately naive, those who think the internet is free." It is not free, and we already have some evidence, for skeptics who do not have a common mind.
Just last summer, the (real) world buzzed with the revelation that Facebook was illegally using the personal data of its 600.000 users to conduct social psychology experiments without their knowledge. In fact, in the US, citizens angry with that revelation, created a movement that called Facebook users to simply abstain for 70 days from this platform. No deletion, just abstention for 70 days. The invitation gathered several thousand signatures and after that, no one sweated.
Kapaki, the oldest (since 1863) and politically entangled scientific journal PNAS (acronym for the mysterious title Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US), published the findings of the illegal Facebook experiments, which were nice and useful: "it was found experimentally that an emotional contamination is achieved between users, which is transmitted on a large scale through social networking applications ". Which is to say that those interested in mob psychology have made sure that, if they want, they can spread their feelings through websites and Facebook posts: for example, if they want to make users pessimistic or if they want to make them optimistic by moving accordingly. messages with the facebook app.
Of course, it's hard to convince a facebook resident how bad what he does is, and how someone smarter can manipulate him through what he does. This difficulty in convincing the user of facebook and related social media about the problem is due to something else, which was also found through live psychological experiments. Recently (just January 8, 2015) Ohio State University released a study that came to conclusions not at all flattering about the victims: posting selfies contained seeds of psychopathological narcissism, and the more selfies there were, the more serious the case of the insane. of. That is, where does the problem of narcissistic users' distrust come from and is fed back, as they experience Facebook as the mirror of the fairy tale that always tells them that they are the most beautiful, and so they do not break up with it even if they learn that it works for them.
The pessimism of this situation is somewhat relaxed by the announcement of the Europe v. Facebook. Because, it is not just that 75.000 users were found angry and did not forget, but that there was (for the first time) a judge who wants to see the credibility of the complaints. Complaints that make up a scary list.
(1) unenforceable privacy policies; (2) unauthorized use of data; and through the like button (3) illegal use of the Graph Search engine that was integrated in facebook in 4 (5) providing users' personal data to third parties without authorization, and (2013) linking and evaluating all databases (Big Data) ) in order to analyze and measure the interactive activity of users.
One can easily shudder at what is being complained about and it remains to be proven. The bad thing is that this shudder may never reach the backbone of the facebook community, a community that has (also) quickly forgotten the recent serious cases of Manning, Assange's Wikileaks or Snowden.
Cases that should normally change the fate of the internet, but are already unclaimed and carefree joy prevails in cyberspace. Thus, it is up to Austria to write history in April, where for the first time facebook in the form of people (who will represent it), will be judged for what is attributed to it. In Ireland, where the offices of the international administration of facebook are located, similar trials have not even started, since according to the provisions in force there, such a large number of plaintiffs "threatens public order".
Probably right, considering how so many plaintiffs would react outraged by the outcome of a lawsuit that was about their dignity. In Austria, they are not afraid of reactions. Because, either they have terrible police or they just have complete confidence in the oblivion of the people.