Bombshell stories from The Guardian and New York Times are shedding new light on something we’ve known for years: that Facebook’s practice of harvesting and selling our data is endangering our privacy and undermining our democracy.1
We need answers, now. Sign this urgent petition demanding Facebook release internal documents about how our data has been used.
The latest scandal is about Cambridge Analytica, a shadowy firm that boasts of its ability to swing elections through “psychographic” targeting. They were caught red-handed abusing sensitive information scraped from 50 million people’s Facebook profiles without their knowledge or consent.2
But this story is not about Cambridge Analytica or their sleazy executives. It’s not even about the 2016 election. It’s about Facebook, and the ways our data can be weaponized and used against us.
And without full transparency, we have no way of knowing whether Facebook’s proposed “solutions” to this problem will fix anything.
Tell Facebook to come clean. Sign the petition demanding they release all internal documents related to data harvesting operations like the one Cambridge Analytica ran.
Facebook has built a $40 billion / year business by making the ultimate surveillance tool: an addictive product that’s optimized to collect and analyze the intimate details of our lives. They monitor and store information about who we are, our preferences, what we believe, what we’re afraid of. Then they package it and sell it to the highest bidder or, in some cases, give it away for free in order to attract more business.
Both Democrats and Republicans have exploited Facebook’s lax data practices in attempts to manipulate voters.3 Mercenaries like Cambridge Analytica will sell their services to anyone who will pay.
Facebook and their partners have been caught over and over again conducting unethical experiments, like when researchers manipulated half a million people’s emotional states by changing content on their news feed, or when marketers used Facebook data to target vulnerable teenagers with ads for beauty products.4
Facebook is trying to sweep this under the rug. They even went so far as to threaten journalists who are covering the story.5 We need to fix this, but to know how we need transparency.
Tell Facebook: we deserve to know how our data is being used.
This story is still developing. It’s critical that we make sure this doesn’t just become another partisan talking point in Washington, DC, but rather a national conversation about how we take our data back.
We may not get another opportunity like this to push tech companies to change course and ensure that the Internet we leave to our children is better than the one we have now.
Demanding that Facebook come clean about their practices, and taking immediate steps to protect user data by default, is an important start.
For the future,
-Evan at FFTF
P.S. Just as we were sending this email, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally responded to the scandal and outlined some changes they plan to make to the platform. The demands of our petition still stand. Without full transparency, we have no way of knowing whether the changes Facebook is proposing will fix this problem.
P.P.S. We built a handy chatbot that will walk you step by step through changing your Facebook settings to prevent 3rd party apps from harvesting your data. Text FACEBOOK to 384-387 to try it out. (Message and data rates apply, reply STOP to stop receiving messages.)
- The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/20/facebook-data-cambridge-analytica-sandy-parakilas
- The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/news/video/2018/mar/20/cambridge-analytica-caught-in-undercover-sting-boasting-about-entrapping-politicians-video
- Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5520303/Obama-campaign-director-reveals-Facebook-ALLOWED-data.html
- Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2018/03/19/the-problem-isnt-cambridge-analytica-its-facebook/
- Techdirt: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180318/00111439443/both-facebook-cambridge-analytica-threatened-to-sue-journalists-over-stories-cas-use-facebook-data.shtml