Hi. We’ve been friends for a while now. I have a few important questions to ask you, you know, as a FRIEND™.
I'd say I was asking "for a friend" but it's probably just me here, thanks to your bad behavior. I'm writing this here instead of where you live for a lot of reasons you will probably figure out, because you're smart like that.
Here are my questions. I know you're really freaked out about some of this, especially number 10.
1. I keep seeing people posting a meme about "the algorithm" and how we need to do something in order to see more posts by friends. I’m pretty good at working within your system and keeping up with your changes. I’ve even made some money consulting with folks about how best to get around your ever-changing little algorithms and make it actually work like we need it to.
Because of that experience I know those posts and memes aren’t exactly correct and that there’s a lot more to it.
But still, I wonder,
Is it the algorithm or is it just YOU?
2. You know everything about me. You know what I like, what time I get up in the morning, who I talk to, where my photos were taken, where I went to school and where I go every day, when I was born, etc., etc., etc.,
You give permission to marketers to access ALL of my data, but you don’t even let me see who unfriended me or let me choose which feeds I see without jumping through every hoop imaginable.
I can’t interact with everyone I’d like to without naming them all as my fake cousins to fit your new “see friends and family first” idea.
Does that seem like a fair trade?
3. I have a public page where I interact with lots of people. You make me pay so that those people can see what I write, even though they have taken your only action available to publicly declare they want to see what I write.
Does that seem fair to those who have “Liked” my page? Why did you ask them to LIKE the page if you refuse to show them the content?
4. People give you the clearest, face only photographs of themselves in order to see what they’d look like when they are old, of a different gender identity, a cat, a dog, whatever.
What happens to those photos?
Do you add them to the rest of the data you collect about me? You know the answer,
SO DO I!
5. I realize that you claim that I am giving permission to those apps that pay you large cash to see my data.
Why is the box you ask me to check agreeing to that contain so little information about where that data is going and how much money you're making by selling my life?
After looking around for quite some time on a desktop, I actually found the page that shows all the apps that I have allegedly given permission to access my data.
How many people do that and why is it so hard to find? Is that by design?
I was pretty stunned to see that there are over 150 of them. I actually thought I was being smart by clicking “Only Me” in the permissions.
Turns out that means NOTHING. Apparently I have to contact each and every one of those apps and tell them they can’t have any more of my data, while apparently keeping all the data they have already collected about me.
Was that your intention when you decided to collect that data? How much money did you make by selling my soul?
I see you just lost a $150 MILLION dollar lawsuit in Belgium regarding this same issue. Apparently they take Internet privacy a little more seriously in Belgium than we do here-maybe a LOT more seriously.
Why are you appealing that decision instead of just cleaning up your act?
Is it because you know that simply admitting you're a little, um...INVASIVE, it will open the floodgates and you'll have to change?
6. Back in the early days when everyone was drunk on the high of finding and connecting with classmates from elementary school, there was a lot of discussion about how you were going to monetize your application. People went crazy saying things like "petition Facebook, don't let them charge us!"
Did you decide to use those fears against us by selling our data instead? Using your social network is NOT free.
How much do I need to pay you to see what my mother is up to without allowing nametests.com or MeowShare or whomever else I inadvertently gave permission to in 2006 to see everything about me 12 years later?
Did you mean to monetize the absolute destruction of public trust and social contracts?
7. You’ve recently stated that you are going to test your “trusted news” by asking your users which sources they trust.
Do you really think that is a good idea?
First of all, fair warning- I will game the shit out of that, and I will not be alone.
How's that going to work for you?
Second, I read pages like, for example, Dan Rather’s "News and Guts". It’s a great source and I enjoy it. That page didn’t exist before the last year or two and became popular on, uh, Facebook.
How will new, credible sources like that and many others be able to grow when you’re asking me if I have heard of them and whether I consider them trustworthy?
More than that, how will they grow if somebody’s crazy Uncle Earl decides to game you like I intend to?
(I really don’t want to game you, but since you have already taught me how to do it I doubt I’ll be able to help myself. After all, I’m just another rube, a product of your tutoring.)
Moreover, are you just too cowardly to go ahead and make a statement that the New York Times or the Washington Post are credible news sources?
Is that just too much responsibility for you?
If that’s the case, we’re in a world of trouble. Oh, that’s right, we really are, but anyhoo... It seems like you take a whole bunch of responsibility otherwise (especially when it's profitable) except when it comes to owning your shit.
8. The data that is emerging about your effect on people and children who are prone to depression is pretty bad. Seems that using your site is making them feel terrible about themselves and the world.
Do you care about things like depressed children?
I mean, do you care enough to do something besides continue to fade the heat and blame your customers?
I’ll not even go into the dirty truth that everyone knows, which is that you are also destroying friendships, social and business connections and the way we relate to others. You already know that.
Without making any broad assumptions, I’m going to make a quick, personal observation. It’s just my sense...
I’ve seen several of your employees who act as spokespeople, both live and via video. A lot of them don’t seem like the kind of folks they are super great at making and maintaining social connections. I’m sure they have other wonderful qualities as humans, but
Do you think that those not-exactly-people, people should be deciding how we connect and maintain social connections?
9. Why do you give posts that contain outside links the lowest priority in terms of how may people on my Friend’s list sees that post?
Is it because you’d rather that no one ever leave your site? I'll bet it is. I guess I don't blame you, but-
How much longer can you belly up to that trough without getting a stomach ache?
Newsflash- I am not the only one who has already learned to put the link in the first comment instead of in the post so more people will see it.
I try to use your little "We'll go ahead and pick a color and some idiotic flowers for you and you can use our little box for your little words until we change to different colors and an Easter Bunny" box.
I think you like that, I know what you really want me to do, so I use it.
You're welcome. Fuck you.
And on a side note, you also own Instagram. I’ve seen a lot of people saying “screw Facebook, I’m only posting on Instagram. I’m sure you have seen that, too.
Do you tell people that it is the same company up-front and add the fact that you have the same and similar policies on Instagram?
10. You knew this one was coming. Sadly, so did I, because I was there, too, watching you screw up. So here goes...
On February 16th, the United States Justice Department issued an indictment charging 13 Russians and three companies with creating a sophisticated network designed to subvert our 2016 election.
Your company names appear in the text of that indictment a whopping 41 times. By contrast, Twitter was mentioned 9 times and YouTube only once. I know, I know... you were not charged with anything. I know the Justice Department did not accuse you of anything criminal. Yet, the conservative estimate is that 150 MILLION Americans saw the propaganda. (I think it was more, but if it was one it was too many.)
You know how many people got tricked by RUSSIA, don't you?
Your company reported approximately 7 billion dollars in revenue in Q3 of 2016.
Are you now SURE that you only made a few measly hundreds of thousands from that interference?
I ask, because the companies indicted had budgets of as much as a million and a half dollars PER MONTH to spend with you and your friends...
See, I understand that Mr. Zuckerberg originally denied that your companies were involved or part of Russian meddling.
Did he make a mistake?
According to the indictment, the bad guys used your convenient birthday reminder service to game us. They created fake identities because you tell them our birthdays.
Why? How? WTF? DO YOU EVEN KNOW THE ANSWER?
If so, when do you plan to tell us?
I see that last fall Mr. Zuckerberg said that “I wish I could tell you that we’re going to be able to stop all interference (in the 2018 midterms) but that wouldn’t be realistic” and just yesterday said that you “still have a long way to go”
How much longer will it be until you can tell us you have your shit together?
If you can’t tell us that, how about you just suck it up and shut the thing down until you figure it out?
After all, it’s only our Democracy at stake. I realize you have bills to pay, but I have a country to worry about, so I win.
Your buddy Twitter says they are emailing every single one of the 677,775 users who swallowed the bot bait and fake ads, making them aware that they might be the same idiots many of us knew in our bones they were back when it happened.
Of course their original estimate was lower than what we now know... hmmm.... but still, ANY BIG PLANS ON YOUR END?
DO YOU EVEN REALIZE THE POWER OF WHAT YOU BUILT IN YOUR DORM ROOM, MR. ZUCKERBERG?
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU ARE DOING? DO YOU STILL THINK YOU ARE IN THE CONNECTION BUSINESS
It certainly doesn’t seem like it to me, but who am I except someone who has helped you make that big boy revenue by allowing you to sell my birthday and the metadata from my dog pics.
YOU WANT ME TO BELIEVE I AM THE CONSUMER, BUT I AM REALLY YOUR PRODUCT!!!
BONUS QUESTION- You reported approximately 40 billion dollars of revenue in 2017 alone. How much of that did you make from my data? I think I have a right to know, don’t you?
And one more thing, why will you not allow me to format my posts? I’d really like to put just a couple of things in bold type once in a while.
Oh, hell, one more... why not? Why do you keep showing me photos of my friends hanging out with people that were cruel to me or that I broke up with because they were insane, people that I am trying so hard to forget? You give me no way to say I don't want to see them and that sucks. And showing memories of my dead dogs? That's a great way to start a day, DON'T YOU THINK?
PS- As someone who tries hard to highlight the good along with the bad, thank you for the opportunities you have (potentially inadvertently) created for me to help other people. I've used you to raise some money for good causes and to remember birthdays (the same ones the Russians used, LOL) and to connect and get a bunch of dopamine shots from people LIKING my food choices. A good deal is only a good deal if it's a good deal for everyone. You are no longer a good deal.